Self Harm Awareness

Self-Harm Awareness

Did you know that March is self-harm awareness month? It is and this is a topic that is often not spoken about but something that many people, adults and kids, struggle with. Self-harm refers to intentional actions someone takes to cause harm to their own body as a way of coping with emotional pain, stress, or other overwhelming feelings. Sometimes it can even be in the form of a punishment or to feel something- to feel alive when someone is numb. It’s crucial to increase awareness about self-harm to promote understanding, empathy, and support for those who may be struggling. Here are some key points to consider:

Understanding Self-Harm:

  • Self-harm is not always an indication of suicidal intent. It can be a coping mechanism for emotional pain.
  • Common methods include cutting, burning, biting, hitting, or any form of self-inflicted injury.

Risk Factors:

  • Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, or borderline personality disorder are often associated with self-harm.
  • Stressful life events, trauma, or difficult relationships can contribute to self-harming behaviors.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, or scars on the person’s body.
  • Wearing concealing clothing even in warm weather.
  • Isolation or withdrawal from social activities.
  • Emotional instability and difficulty expressing feelings.

Talking About Self-Harm:

  • Approach the topic with empathy and understanding rather than judgment.
  • Encourage open communication and let the person know you are there to support them.
  • Avoid making negative comments or expressing shock, as this may drive the person away.

Seeking Professional Help:

  • Encourage individuals who self-harm to reach out to mental health professionals.
  • If you are aware of someone who is struggling, help them connect with a therapist, counselor, or support group.

Promoting Mental Health Awareness:

  • Advocate for mental health awareness in schools, workplaces, and communities.
  • Support initiatives that reduce the stigma associated with mental health struggles.

Educational Programs:

  • Promote educational programs that focus on mental health, coping mechanisms, and healthy ways to deal with stress.

Available Resources:

  • Make information about available mental health resources easily accessible.
  • Share helpline numbers and encourage people to seek help when needed.
  • Remember that self-harm is a complex issue, and individuals engaging in such behaviors may require professional help. Promoting awareness and fostering a supportive environment can contribute to breaking down the stigma surrounding self-harm and mental health struggles.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) is a group therapy approach that meets 3x a week for 3 hrs each meeting to help people understand triggers, learn healthy coping skills, regulate emotions, and gain support as group participants navigate to a healthier lifestyle.
  • National Suicide & Crisis Hotline: 988 Call. Text. Chat.

Erin Pawlak, MS, LPCC-S
Therapist and Adolescent  IOP Director
The Behavioral Wellness Group
8224 Mentor Ave #208     Mentor OH  44060
P:  440 392 2222 #307    F:  440 565 2349