International self-injury awareness day

International self-injury awareness day

This is an international awareness day that is dedicated to learning about self-injury. On this day, the main aim is to raise awareness and provide resources to those who need help. self-injury also known as self-harm is deliberately causing physical damage to oneself. It is usually an indication of intense emotional distress. When an individual engages in self-injury, they expect to either gain relief from negative emotions, to cope with a personal issue or to create a positive feeling. However, after the act, the individual often feels shame or guilt resulting in significant distress leading them to self-injure once again.

Some of the statistics:
1. Each year, one in five females and one in seven males engage in self-harm behaviours
2. 90 percent of individuals who engage in self-harm begin during their teen or pre-adolescent years
3. Nearly 50 percent of individuals who engage in self-injury activities have been sexually abused
4. Females comprise 60 percent of individuals who engage in self-injurious behaviour
5. Approximately 50 percent of those who engage in self-harm behaviour begin 14 years of age and continue into their 20s
6. Many individuals who engage in self-injury behaviour on social media or report learning how to do so from their friends or pro-self-injury websites

Some of the more common ways people self-harm include:
1. Cutting or severely scratching one’s skin
2. Burning oneself
3. Hitting oneself or banging oneself
4. Punching things
5. Sticking objects into one’s skin
6. Intentionally preventing wounds from healing
7. Swallowing poisonous substances

Less obvious ways of self-harm include:
1. driving recklessly
2. Binge drinking
3. taking too many drugs
4. having unsafe sex

Steps can you take to help yourself:

Identifying and understanding your triggers
This is a vital step toward recovery. If you can figure out what function your self-injury serves, you can learn other ways to get those needs met-which in turn can reduce your desire to hurt yourself.

Finding new coping techniques
If you self-harm to express pain and intense emotions, you could:
1. Paint, draw or scribble
2. Start journaling to express your feelings
3. Compose a poem or song to say what you feel
4. Write down any negative feelings and then rip the paper up
5. Listen to music that expresses what you’re feeling

If you self-harm to calm and soothe yourself, you could:
1. Take a bath or hot shower
2. Pet or cuddle with a dog or cat
3. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket
4. Massage your neck, hands, and feet
5. Listen to calming music

If you self-harm because you feel disconnected or numb, you could:
1. Call a friend (you don’t have to talk about self-harm)
2. Take a cold shower
3. Hold an ice cube in the crook of your arm or leg
4. Chew something with a very strong taste, like peppermint, or a grapefruit peel
5. Go online to a self-help website, chat room, or message board

If you self-harm to release tension or vent anger, you could:
1. Exercise vigorously—run, dance, jump rope, or hit a punching bag
2. Punch a cushion or mattress or scream into your pillow
3. Squeeze a stress ball or squish Play-Doh or clay
4. Rip something up
5. Make some noise

Seek help from a professional
Seeking out help from a therapist is one of the best ways to help yourself through this. With them, you can safely express what you feel and they can help you understand and walk through your feelings and help you begin to practice healthy coping mechanisms. Remember that your therapist needs to be someone you feel comfortable and at ease with.

Finally, if someone opens up to you about their self-harming behaviour, don’t judge them. Remember, they already feel distressed, ashamed and alone. Try instead to be supportive. Encourage them to express whatever they’re feeling, even if it’s something you might be uncomfortable with. If the person hasn’t told you about the self-harm, bring up the subject in a caring, non-confrontational way. If this is something you are dealing with, remember that there is no shame in what you are dealing with. Remember there is love, there is acceptance, there is a safe space out here for you. Hold onto hope.

References

Cutting and Self-Harm

Self-Injury Awareness Day March 1, 2018

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