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Self-Injury Awareness Day – 1st March 2022

Our aim with our blogs is to inform and assist. A word of caution around the information provided below which considers self-injury, particularly the types, why people may choose this path and the all-important support we all can offer.

Self-Injury Awareness Day (SIAD) is recognised internationally on March 1st. It is a day dedicated to learning about behaviours like “cutting” and other intentional methods of self-injury. It is also a day for raising awareness and providing resources to those who need help.

What is Self-Injury?

Self-injury (also known as self-harm) is when somebody deliberately harms their own body. It’s often used as a way to cope with or express intense emotional distress caused by underlying problems in life.

Types of self-injury

There are many different ways people can intentionally harm themselves, however most common forms of self-injury are:

  • Scratching
  • Cutting
  • Burning
  • Non-suicidal overdosing (chronic self-medication)

Why do people self-injure

Individuals may find that they self-injure when they feel angry, distressed, worried or depressed. Each individuals’ reasons to self-injure can be very different from other people. Young people have reported triggers/reasons that lead them to self-injure which include:

  • difficulties at home
  • arguments or problems with friends
  • school pressures
  • bullying
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • low self-esteem
  • transitions and changes, such as changing schools
  • alcohol and drug use.

How can friends and family support someone who self-injures?

  • Don’t judge them. There is still a lot of stigma around self-injury. Let them know that you won’t judge and that you want to help in any way you can.
  • Focus on the underlying problems behind the person’s self-injury rather than the self-injury itself. Don’t ask to see their scars or about the methods they use – instead, ask them if there is anything that is making them unhappy or stressed that you could help with
  • Stay calm. Understand that it can be a long and hard journey to stop self-harming. That person you care about needs your kindness right now.
  • Look after your own mental health. It can be tempting to let your thoughts turn inwards. It is important to remember that there is a wide variety of reasons for self-harming. You can’t blame yourself.
  • Support them in seeking professional help. It can be tricky to take the first step towards admitting that they may need help. No matter how much we want to help, support from friends and family can only go so far. We should not try to replace professional healthcare support.

How to help yourself if you are self-injuring

If you are using self-injury as a way to cope, you do not need to suffer in silence.

The first step is speaking to your local GP. They will be able to treat any physical injuries, assess why you self-harm and recommend treatment/further assessment if needed.

There are also many organisations that can offer support and guidance for people who self-harm.

LifeSIGNS have supported Self-Injury Awareness Day since they launched in 2002. If you would like support for self-harm or if you are concerned about someone you know, help is available through the resources on their website, which you might find useful.

LifeSIGNS is run by volunteers with personal experience of self-injury, check out their site and videos, which is worth watching: https://www.lifesigns.org.uk/siad/

If you have been injured due to someone’s else negligence, it is important to seek advice from a specialist personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. To speak to one of our experts call 0808 252 5231 or request a call back.