I am here writing today as an advocacy piece. This is a topic that is very important to me, professionally and personally. Per the personalized cause website on self harm, there are over two million REPORTED cases of self harm a year, this does not account for hidden or un reported cases. In fact, this is why the stigma needs to end.
Self harm is not a call for attention as people stigmatize, it is a sign of emotional distress. It means this person is in crisis and needs help. As someone who was told they self-harmed for attention and then was given a random antidepressant that almost lead to deadly side effects. I can tell you that it meant I was not okay. I was desperate for help and surrounded by people who abused me. An abusive relationship and abusive family. I can also tell you that those dear to me have experienced self-harm. I will not out them, that is not what I am here for. Instead I will say they would agree they were in emotional distress too.
Self harm is also a vicious cycle, often one incident of self harm causes shame which leads to another instance of emotional distress. For me, it took counseling and a lot of psycho education about self care and coping skills. I don’t think the urge ever fully goes away when I or others like me are in distress but, it gets a little easier.
If you are suffering from this symptom, or you think someone you know may be suffering please reach out to someone for help.
The crisis text line is 741-741. Text HOME to get started. There are often times counselors available, including on campus counselors at colleges, school guidance counselors, therapists, social workers, teachers, and for some family who can be reached for support.
I will link some information from NAMI here as a reference: https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Self-harm
Please take care of yourselves!
Love and light