March is a time to celebrate many things… Women’s History Month, Social Work Month, St. Patrick’s Day, and the first day of Spring. Did you know that March is also Self-Harm Awareness? We want to focus on Self-Harm Awareness because here at Affinity Health Affairs, we are here to provide a clear roadmap of darkness and distress into the light of healing and happiness.
Self-harm is still prevalent, especially for children and teens dealing with the anxiety of going from distance learning back to the classroom. It is less talked about because there is often shame and guilt that surrounds it. But spreading awareness is necessary.
Self-harm, also referred to as self-injury, is intentional and non-lethal behavior that causes physical injury to your body.
Self-harm is an unhealthy coping mechanism that is used as an attempt to relieve intense emotional pain that has become overwhelming. Though the action may distract the individual from their pain for a brief period, it does not resolve the emotions or address the underlying causes.
Self-harm does not discriminate. It happens across all races, genders, and ages. According to the America Psychological Association, roughly 17% of all people will self-harm at some point in their life. Additionally, only about 50% of those people seek help.
The average age of the first self-harm incident is 13 years old. Women are more likely to self-harm. Men represent at least 35% of all self-harm cases and are less likely to report than women.
Though the first image that comes to mind when self-harm is brought up is someone cutting themselves, that is not the only form of self-harm. Other forms of self-harm include:
- Burning or branding
- Excessive body piercing or tattooing
- Picking at skin
- Beating or bruising
- Consuming dangerous substances
- Eating disorders
Once a person self-harms, they may experience shame and guilt. This shame and guilt can lead to intense negative feelings that may cause the person to hurt themself again. This behavior then becomes a dangerous cycle that can turn into a long-term habit if they do not receive help.
HOW IS THE NATIONAL PANDEMIC AFFECTING US?
The COVID-19 pandemic, with distance learning and social isolation, has created an environment where signs of self-harm can be easily missed. Signs that someone may be intentionally hurting themselves to look out for include:
- Having frequent cuts, bruises, or scars
- Making excuses about injuries
- Wearing long sleeve shirts or pants even in hot weather
Here are some things to do and not to do when trying to help someone who self-harms.
Self-harm should be taken seriously, and oftentimes professional help is needed. If you are struggling and need professional help, reach out today at 202-335-6411. We are here for you!
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line: HOME to 741741
- Schedule here for your complimentary consultation with me.