March is Self Harm Awareness Month, which kicks off on the 1st with Self-Harm Awareness Day. In this piece, Morningside Recovery hopes to shed light on the subject of self-harm, also known as self-injury.
In the context of mental health, self-harm is an unhealthy coping strategy that typically involves minor, temporary injury to the body without suicidal intention. A common form of self-harm is cutting, which is a mutilation wherein the person uses a razor, knife, scissor blade, or other sharp object to cut their skin enough to bleed. Cutting and other forms of self-harm are dangerous and unsettling means to feel or cope with difficult feelings. Self-harm also manifests in pinching, burning, and using other dangerous methods to hurt oneself, such as drinking household chemicals (Mental Health America). Often, the person enacting self-harm feels depressed, anxious, or seeks emotional relief or escape from “numbness” through physical pain.
The mutilation aspect gives the person a sense of control over feelings they feel powerless to help or express. Sadly, self-harm is a practice that is fairly common, affecting nearly two million Americans, many of whom are teenagers and young adults. If left unaddressed, this form of self-abuse can snowball into increasingly disturbing thoughts and behavior, including suicidal ideation or drug abuse.
Purpose of Self Harm Awareness
Self harm awareness is meant to bring this issue to light, and show empathy and support to these individuals. If you are among the many Americans that self-harms, know that you are not alone. If you feel you can’t talk to a friend or family member about what you’re feeling, call a support hotline. Having a friend or child who engages in this form of self-abuse is frightening and indicative of bigger emotional issues that need to be addressed sensitively and properly. Starting a conversation and seeking help is a good place to start.
There are therapists and treatment centers around the country that can help you or your loved one overcome this habit and relieve emotional symptoms in healthy ways. At Morningside Recovery, we firmly believe that we offer the best level of care and chance of recovery to anyone who needs help.