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Self-Injury /Self-Harm

Today, the 1st of March is Self-Injury Awareness Day. This is observed annually with the aim of raising awareness to self-Injury and why we as a society need to reduce the stigmas that surround the issue. It is such an important topic, that unfortunately affects many people not just in the UK but everywhere.

As we have spoken about previously, mental health can affect anybody, regardless of age. Self-Injury is no different.

In 2018-19 24% of 17-year-olds reported that they’d self-harmed within the previous year. With 7% reporting that they had self-harmed with suicidal intent at some point in their life.

During 2020/21 there had been an increase of 2% from the year prior, with 151,000 hospital admissions for self-harm among people aged 10 or older.

It is also important to note those numbers may not entirely represent the accurate numbers across the UK as it is not always reported/known about.

This is why we need to raise awareness. Together, we can try to prevent self-injury, educate ourselves on how to be there for the people around us who are experiencing it, and also make sure that they feel comfortable speaking out.

Self-Injury can take many forms and is often a way used by people to cope with intense emotional pain, stress or trauma. It is not directly a suicide attempt but can be the result of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety or PTSD.

It has been described as a way to…

- Express an emotion or feeling that is hard to put into words.

- Change emotional pain into physical pain.

- Have a sense of control over how you are feeling

- Punish yourself

- Express suicidal thoughts without taking their life.

Unfortunately, just like most things to do with mental health, it also comes with many stigmas.

These stigmas can make it difficult for individuals to seek help and support. People who engage in self-injury may feel ashamed or embarrassed and may be hesitant to talk about their experiences. This is why it is essential to raise awareness about self-injury and encourage open and compassionate discussions about the issue. Through talking about it, we can show everyone that it is nothing to be ashamed of, and hopefully, give them the support that they need.

If someone you know, is engaging in self-injury it is so important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Even though you may not fully understand why they are doing it, showing that you understand that they are in fact struggling and need support can help.

Here are some other ways you can help.

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.

And of course, make sure that you are also looking after yourself during this, it can often be a deeply upsetting experience seeing someone going through this. There is nothing wrong with reaching out for your own support to cope with your feelings.

At Burton and District Mind, we are here for everyone. We have multiple different types of support that will hopefully suit your needs and give you the care that you deserve. It is more important than ever to us, that we deliver our services to the highest possible quality but also with compassion.

Please talk to us, if you are struggling with your mental health or experiencing anything that we have spoken about during this blog post.


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