We all cope with difficult thoughts, feelings or situations in different ways. Self-injury, also known as self-harm or self-abuse, means that someone hurts themselves on purpose but doesn’t intend to end their own life. When a person self-injures, it may be their way to cope with difficult or overwhelming thoughts or feelings.
Self-injury is not a mental illness, but it may be a sign that someone needs care and support. If you or someone you know is self-injuring, there is help.
People self-injure to:
- Deal with uncomfortable or unwanted feelings;
- Cope with grief, loss, violence or chronic illness;
- Punish themselves or to express self-hatred or self-anger, or feelings of failure;
- Cope with feelings of emptiness or numbness.
It’s important to remember that those who self-harm do not intend to end their lives, but it may be a sign that they need help. If you are worried about a friend, here’s what you can do.