Some young people deliberately harmthemselves, usually as a way to copewith difcult or painul eelings.Sel-harm can take many orms,including cutting, burning or punchingthe body or picking skin or sores.These actions may provide temporaryrelie, but they don’t do anything tosolve the problem that’s causingthe eelings.
WHY DO PEOPLE SELF-HARM?
People who deliberately harm themselves have otenhad tough experiences in their lives. These mightinclude being bullied or discriminated against, losinga loved one (such as a parent, brother, sister or riend),being physically or sexually abused, or breaking upwith a boyriend or girlriend. Having a serious illnessor disability, or problems with amily, school or riends,can make you eel bad about yoursel and, in somepeople, this can trigger sel-harm.
Deliberate sel-harm is oten used as a way to copewith experiences and the strong eelings that go with them.For some people, sel-harm provides a way to expressdifcult or hidden eelings, like anger, sadness, grie orhurt. For others, harming themselves provides a temporarysense o eeling when overwhelming emotions have letthem numb or empty.Deliberate sel-harm may also be a way o letting othersknow that you need support, when you can’t use wordsor any other way to do so. It may be a way to prove toyoursel that you are not invisible, or to show that you arein charge o your own lie, eelings or body, especially iyou eel as i other things in your lie are out o control.Deliberate sel-harm can bring an immediate senseo relie but it is only a temporary solution. It can causescarring and permanent damage to your body, especiallyi you injure nerves. Psychologically, it may be associatedwith a sense o guilt, depression, sel-hatred or lowsel-esteem, along with a tendency to isolate yoursel romothers. Deliberate sel-harm can also become a habit that’sdifcult to break, so it’s important to get proessional help.
COPING WITHOUTHARMING YOURSELF
I you eel like you want to harmyoursel there are a number o thingsthat you can do to distract yoursel untilthe eelings become more manageable.I you can, make sure that you arearound other people, and removeany sharp objects rom the area.
spoken to someone else or waited or15 minutes (and see i you can keepextending it or another 15 minutesbeyond that).
until the anxiety passes.
on your own or to music – do this intoa pillow i you don’t want other peopleto hear.
normal way to express your sadnessor rustrations.
1300 22 4636
beyondblue: the national depression initiative
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Youthbeyondblue Fact sheet 15