Self-harm is when somebody intentionally harms their body without the intention of wanting to die. Examples of self-harm include:
Self-harm may also include ways of hurting yourself that aren’t so obvious and physical. These include having unsafe sex, driving recklessly, binge drinking, and excessive drug taking.
Although self-harm is not the same as a suicide attempt, people who self-harm are more likely to have had suicidal thoughts or previous suicide attempts. Over time, people who self-harm may also be at increased risk of dying by suicide. This is because self-harming can become an addictive process. Moreover, those who repeatedly self-harm may feel more trapped, hopeless and lonely.
People from all backgrounds, lifestyles, genders and ages may experience self-harm as a way of dealing with problems. Self-harming is often the only way a person knows how to:
1. Talk to someone
This is the hardest step, because it requires you to talk about your feelings and behaviours. Ask yourself who in your life makes you feel accepted and supported, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be someone you are close to. Sometimes it’s easier to talk a doctor, counsellor, teacher or even a crisis line supporter.
2. Recognise your triggers
This is a vital step towards recovery so you can learn what situations you need to avoid and how to deal with these situations. If you’re finding it hard to pinpoint the exact feelings, it is also vital to work on the ability to identify and express your moment-to-moment emotions, and to understand the connection between your feelings and actions.
3. Find other coping strategies
This may simply be to wait for 15 minutes and seeing if the urge goes away. However, if you have identified your triggers, it may be easier to think of specific coping strategies:
It can be any sort of activity, but as long as you distract yourself with other activities, it’s better than harming yourself.
4. Get professional help
Find someone who specialises in helping someone who self-harms. Sure, you may have completed all these coping strategies, but these mental health professionals are there to help you maintain these strategies in the long run and to prevent future self-harming.
Learn more about self-harm at Seribu Tujuan
Cutting and Self-Harm. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/cutting-and-self-harm.htm/
Self-Harm. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/topics/self-harm
Self-harm and self-injury. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/understand-what's-going-on/self-harm-and-self-injury