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  • Writer's pictureChelle Brown

Self Injury Awareness (SIA)

March 1, 2022 is Self-Injury Awareness Day (SIAD). This day is meant to bring awareness of self-harm and to support those that participate in the practice.

Did You Know?

  • 17% of the population will self-harm during their lifetime.

  • 13 is the average age of the first incident of self-harm.

  • Girls are more likely to practice self-harm.

  • There is a 50% increase in reported self-injurious behavior in females since 2009.

  • 55% of people who self-harm also have an eating disorder.

So, what is Self-Injury?

Self-Injury is the intentional harm or injury to one’s own body. It is generally used to help cope with emotional pain, intense anger, and frustration.

It can involve any of the listed behaviors:

  • Cutting.

  • Scratching or skin picking (excoriation).

  • Burning or Branding.

  • Head-banging.

  • Hair-pulling (trichotillomania).

  • Hitting (with self or another object).

  • Bone-breaking.

  • Piercing skin with sharp objects.

  • Inserting objects under the skin.

Why Self-Injury?

Self-Injury typically occurs when people feel overwhelmed or have difficulty understanding or expressing emotional distress. Those that self-injure claim that it is a way to manage pain or distressing feelings.

Is Self-Injury a Suicide Attempt?

Participating in self-injury is not typically a suicide attempt. However, there is a substantial link between self-injury and suicide. As the number and/or frequency of self-injury increases, so does the risk of suicide.

Who is Most At-Risk?

Self-Injury is global. It does not discriminate. The behavior is inclusive of gender, race, education, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, and education level. However, self-injury most commonly occurs among:

  • Teenagers and Young Adults

  • Those that have experienced abuse.

  • Those with co-existing mental health disorders, particularly eating disorders, substance use disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia.

  • Those that have difficulty expressing anger or discomfort.

  • Those that have friends who self-injure.

Warning Signs of Self-Injury

There are several warning signs that a loved-one may be participating in self-injury behaviors. They are:

  • Wearing clothes that are unseasonal (example: wearing pants and long sleeves in warm weather).

  • Reduced or poor performance at home, school, or work.

  • Relationship challenges.

  • Uncharacteristic sightings of objects such as lighters, razors, or sharp objects with the loved-one’s belongings.

  • Vocalizations of self-harm.

What do I do if I suspect someone is self-injuring?

Realizing that a loved-one is self-injuring is jarring. You may feel uncertain and scared. But, it is important to take the self-injuring seriously and enter into an honest conversation with your loved-one. Self-injury requires reaching out for help.

Here are some tips:

  • Honestly discuss your observations and express concern with your loved-one.

  • Encourage community. Often those that self-injure feel isolated and lonely. Be a friend and companion.

  • Encourage your loved-one to reach out to a doctor or mental health professional for an evaluation.

  • Remain aware and engaged.

East Texas Counseling Group is ready and available to help. If you or someone you love is engaging in self-injury, please contact our office at 903-502-0490.

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