In today’s world youth cope with difficult thoughts, feelings, or situations in different ways. Some youth cope by injuring themselves on purpose and that it may be the only way for them to feel better. Self-injury seems to be frightening, but it’s important to look beyond the injuries and see what’s really going on in one’s life.
Self-injury refers to someone who hurts themselves on purpose but doesn’t intend to end their life. Common acts of self-injury include cutting skin, burning skin, hitting yourself to the point of injury, and preventing wounds from healing. Self-injury itself isn’t a mental illness but may be a sign that someone needs care and support. Youths who self-injure often hide their behaviour. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed, and they may avoid talking about it.
The warning signs include: unexplained frequent injuries, such as cuts and burns, low self-esteem, problems handling emotions, problems with relationships. Self-injury can affect anyone, but it’s more common during the teenage years and among females. Self-injury is also more likely to affect people who have experienced stressful or traumatic life events, people who have a hard time coping with their feelings, and people who experience low self-esteem.
If you are self-injured, it’s important to begin talking with someone you trust. This could be a friend, a family member, a teacher, a school counsellor, or anyone you feel comfortable talking with. Your support person can help you work through next steps, like talking with a doctor or other health care professional.
Self-help strategies that boost your wellbeing and can also help you work through self-injury. It includes connecting with family, friends, or a support group, eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, and spending time on things which a person enjoy.
“I am not “cured”–I know I never will be. I will always crave that pain to keep me centred. I will always be just a little astounded when I get through a crisis without putting a blade to my flesh.”
― J. Kenner, Complete Me.
(n.d.). Retrieved from cmha alberta division: https://www.mymentalhealth.ca/get-help/topics/youth-and-self-injury.