"I think control's a big thing. You can't control what's happening around you, but you can control what you do to yourself"
Self-harm is how some people try and deal with very difficult feelings that build up inside. People deal with these feelings in different ways. Self-harm can affect anyone. It is a lot more common than people think. Many people hurt themselves secretly for long periods of time before finding the courage to tell someone.
Things that can lead a person to self-harm
- Problems to do with race, culture or religion
- Issues around sexuality
- Money problems
- Difficulties with friends
- Pressure to fit in
- Housing problems
People who self-harm have usually lived through very difficult and painful experiences. Many of them will have been abused as children or young adults. This may be sexual abuse, physical violence or emotional abuse.
Self-harm and suicide
Self-harm is about trying to stay alive, despite the pain people are in. Many more people self-harm than attempt suicide, and most people don't hurt themselves so badly as to risk their lives. Of those who do, killing themselves may not have been their intention. It's the feelings they want to wipe out.
Self-harm and attention seeking
Self-harm is often treated with mistrust or fear, and is described as attention seeking behaviour, because it can be hard to understand. It is important to understand that the person who is self harming may be using the only way they can to communicate their problems to other people and try to get the attention, care and comfort they need.
If your experiences have been so painful that you need to deal with your emotions by hurting yourself, you may seriously doubt if you can deal with them in any other way. But people do move forward.
The important thing is to find ways to trust. It could be a friend, a family member, or a professional counsellor.
If you would like help regarding any of the issues on these web pages, you should talk to an
- adult/parent or carer that you trust
- your teacher
- school nurse
- social worker
- youth worker
Last updated: Fri 23 Nov 2012 at 10:17