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Self-Harming

Self-harming means hurting your body on purpose, often without the intent to end your life. The term 'self-harming' can be used to describe many behaviours, and is not a mental illness. Self-harming is considered a mental health concern and a sign of problems, or of difficulty managing life’s stresses. Self-harming can also mean difficulty coping with emotional pain.

The most common methods of self-harming among young people are cutting and knowingly overdosing on medication. Self—harming often results in mild to moderate physical injury, but more extreme cases may result in attempted suicide.

In most cases, self-harming is not meant to be fatal, but is instead being used as a coping strategy. Some young people say that self-harm distracts them from emotional pain, but this type of coping is risky.

 

What causes self-harming?

Self-harm occurs for many different reasons that can be really hard to talk about. You may not know how to put your emotional pain into words, or self-harming may even bring you a feeling of control that you don’t otherwise have.

Some young people are more likely to self-harm than others. If you have experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse, you could be at higher risk for this behaviour. If you live in a stressful and highly critical family environment, or have a mental illness such as depression, you may also be at higher risk.

 

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