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Self Harm

Trigger warning - This article talks about Self Injury/Self Harm

Today marks a significant day in our calendars, as not only is it the start of a new month but it is Self-Injury Awareness Day. This is a day dedicated to casting some light on a topic which can often be shrouded in stigma and silence, which can often lead to making people hesitant to reach out for support. 

According to NHS Digital, 1 in 14 people self-harm and the Mental Health Foundation report that 10% of young people self-harm.

Self-injury is something often misunderstood and is something that can affect millions of individuals across the world, regardless of age, gender, religion and even economic status. So today, we hope that through raising awareness, we can foster understanding, empathy and support for anyone who may be struggling with self-injury. 

On this topic, we feel it is first important that we discuss what is exactly meant by self-injury and why someone may do it. 

Self-injury, also often referred to as self-harm, is the act of purposefully causing harm to their own body without suicidal intent. It can often be used as a coping mechanism for people who may be struggling with overwhelming emotions, trauma or psychological distress. It can often be a very complicated topic to approach and is strongly linked with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, trauma-related disorders and even personality disorders. 

There is no set reason why someone may feel like they have to do this, as it can be different for everyone. For some, it can be linked to specific experiences or triggers. 

If you are unsure, when discussing mental health topics triggers are referring to something that may affect your emotional state, perhaps reminding you of past traumas. For example, seeing violence in any form even including films could be triggering for people. This is also why we have included a Trigger Warning for this blog post and many of our posts today.

It is so important that if someone makes it clear to us that they find specific things triggering, we are respectful of this. You can find more information about this topic here ->

Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges that people can face when experiencing self-injury is the silence and stigma surrounding the topic. They could have feelings of shame, guilt and fear of judgement which could then prevent people from seeking support or even opening up about their struggles, which is why days like today are so important. 

One of the major stigmas surrounding this topic is that people who self-harm are doing it for attention, which is incorrect and an incredibly dangerous outlook to have on it. Instead, this dismisses the actual experiences and struggles that are actually causing someone to do this, undermining their need for support and understanding. 

Due to the complexity and unfortunate lack of education on the topic, people may also not know how to respond to someone who may be doing self-injury which could result in a less empathetic response and people feeling even further deterred from seeking support. 

This is why today we are striving to provide as much helpful information as possible! Here are some ways that you can provide a truly supportive, empathetic response to someone who may come to you seeking support…

1) Stay calm: It can be upsetting to see someone you care about hurting themselves, but it's important to stay calm and non-judgmental. 

2) Listen without judgment: Give the person your full attention and let them express their feelings without interrupting or judging them.

3) Show empathy: Let the person know that you care about them and that you want to help. Validate their feelings and let them know that you understand that they are in pain.

4) Encourage professional help: Self-injury is a serious issue that requires professional help. Encourage the person to seek treatment from a mental health professional.


5) Create a safe environment: Remove any objects that could be used for self-harm from the person's immediate environment. Encourage them to engage in positive activities and distract themselves when they feel the urge to self-injure.

6) Be patient: Recovery from self-injury is a process that takes time. Be patient with the person and offer your support throughout their journey.

Supporting someone can also be something that can be difficult on your mental health, so it is just as important that you are taking steps to make sure your mental health is looked after. 

At Burton and District Mind, we are here to provide support for everyone. If you are struggling or experiencing anything that we have discussed in this blog post today, please do not be afraid to reach out to us. Our wonderful team will always do their best to make sure that you feel safe, supported and cared for. We are here for you. 

Please come and talk to us…

Telephone: 01283 566696


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