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Understanding Self Harm

Understanding Self Harm

Table of Contents

Summary

Self-harm is any type of physical harm that is done to the body on purpose, such as cutting, scratching, burning, or hitting yourself. It is important to get support if you or someone you know is self-harming. If you have thought about doing it, wait! There are other options to help yourself cope.

If you are currently having any thoughts of hurting yourself, tell a trusted adult, teacher, or a mental health professional immediately to get the support you need to keep you and others safe.

What is Self Harm

What is Self Harm

Self-harm occurs when you injure yourself on purpose.

Self-harm is any type of physical harm that is done to the body on purpose, such as cutting, scratching, burning, or hitting yourself.

Hurting yourself or having thoughts of self-harm can be scary to talk about. You might think that others won’t understand what you’re going through and thinking.  

Hurting yourself or having thoughts about hurting yourself is often your brain and body’s way of getting your attention to a need that is not being fulfilled or emotions you cannot express.

For example, you may be really stressed at school because of a fight with your friends, your grades, or being bullied. You start scratching yourself with a paperclip and you stop feeling overwhelmed for a while, but the feelings return.

In other words, self-harm can be a way of coping or dealing with overwhelming emotions and thoughts that you are experiencing.

Many people think that engaging in self-injury is the same thing as wanting to die (suicide). This is not true and the act of self-harm is not always intended to end your life.

Why Do I Feel This Way?

Self Harm: Why Do I Feel This Way?

There are many reasons a person may become curious or begin to self-harm. You may have heard about it, read about it on social media, or witnessed a friend or classmate self-harm. For some, self-harm behavior is a way to gain some relief from overwhelming emotions or thoughts

It is important to get support if you or someone you know is self-harming. If you have thought about doing it, wait!

There are other options that don’t involve hurting yourself to cope with stress, a break-up, traumatic experience, or low self-esteem.

Talking with a mental health professional can help you find healthier ways to manage your emotions.

Self-harm can be very dangerous. In fact, you can accidentally hurt yourself more than you expected, leading to serious injury or even death. 

Self-Harm Wellbeing Strategies

Wellbeing Strategies

Talk to a Counselor or Therapist:  It can be difficult to address your emotions and thoughts, experiences, and life challenges. Reaching out to a counselor or therapist can help you feel better and less alone. Find a therapist near you here or try online therapy!

Talk to a trusted adult: Parents, mentors, school employees, and religious leaders can provide you with additional support and guidance to work through your life challenges.

Take care of yourself: Exercise, sleep, and eating healthy can have a big impact on your overall mood and how you feel about yourself. You can also do something you enjoy, such as yoga, art, sports, writing, listening to music, playing an instrument, etc.  Finding time to do things that you enjoy can help you feel better.

Meditate, prayer, mindfulness: Connecting to your breathing and your abilities to calm yourself can help positively increase your mood. Spending time in nature can help improve your mood.

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