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THE TRUTH ABOUT SELF-INJURY

SUBMITTED BY: REBECCA GILLINGHAM


TEACHER: MRS. TONG
Summary

This report on self-injury was carried out to discover what self-injury really is, because it
seems to have become a big fad and subject of scorn. It discovered that although many
people do self-injure, it is not done for popularity. Most self-injurers hide it well - they
could be anyone. The three main topics of this report are how many self-injurers there
are, what the problem is, and why people self-injure. The answers are that there are many
self-injurers, but the total number is unknown because of the ease of hiding it; the
problem is that most people have no idea how to view self-injury, including the medical
and mental health professionals who would have to deal with it; and that people self-
injure for a variety of reasons, usually powerful inner turmoil and that it is an effective
coping mechanism for those people. The report concludes with the fact that much more
work has to be done to get self-injury into the open.
Table of Contents
◊ Introduction 1
◊ Discussion 3
• How Many People Self-Injure? 3
• What are the Problems a Self-Injurer faces?
3
• Why Would Someone Self-Injure?
4
◊ Conclusion 7
◊ Recommendations 8
• If Someone Tells You They Self-Injure 8
• If the Self-Injurer Wants Treatment
9
• What Not To Do 10
• Self-Injury Awareness 10
◊ Bibliography 11
◊ Appendices 13
• The Twelve Steps, Modified for Recovery From Self-Injury
13
• Other Resources 14
• Graphs
15
• Letter 1 17
• Reply to Letter 1 18
• Letter 2 19
• Fax
20
• E-mail
21
• Reply to E-mail 22
• Memorandum
23
Introduction
This report will discuss three main questions: How many people self-injure, what are the
problems a self-injurer faces, and why would someone self-injure. It will focus on self-
injury in North America, as most of the statistics are American or Canadian. Self-injury is
commonly split into three categories: psychotic, organic, and typical. The majority of
self-injurers are in the typical category, so the report will focus on it. The following list
gives a brief description for each category.

• Psychotic: Self-injury that usually occurs during an extreme psychosis caused by


heavy drug use or schizophrenia. Psychotic self-injurers amputate their body
parts.
• Organic: Self-injury that is influenced by physical or chemical problems in the
body, such as autism. Organic self-injurers do repetitive actions like head banging
and lip biting.
• Typical: Self-injury that does not fall into the other categories. It is typically
superficial with minor scarring, but an accidental slip may cause serious damage.

The short definition of self-injury is the deliberate harm of one’s own body, to cause
injury, without suicidal intent. It is not yet an official disorder and therefore does not have
an official name. Although self-mutilation is usually the term clinicians use, self-injurers
often find it demeaning. They prefer the terms self-injury (SI) and self-harm.

Cutting is the most common form of self-injury (See Figure 1), because self-injurers
usually start with it, and then gradually use other forms until they find their preferred
method. Some self-injurers carve words into their bodies. Self-injurers are resourceful
and if they can not find a knife or razor, they will use pen caps, bottle caps, credit cards,

6075
5843
5075

4075
# of Vote s

3693
3204
3075 2653
2042 2036 1963
2075
1281 1220 1130
1075
102
75
Scratching

Skin-picking

Other
Biting
Cutting

Hitting/bruising
with Healing

Burning

Bone-breaking
Interference

Hair-pulling

Headbanging

Methods

Figure 1 : Prefered M ethods of Self-Injury by Vote


4
etc. The arms and legs are most common areas for self-injury (See Figure 2), but other
common places are the breasts, stomach, and thighs. Many self-injurers only hurt
themselves in certain places; usually they do it at home for privacy and seclusion. As
well, some self-injurers use only one particular object or type of instrument to self-injure
and will not use any other type even if it will hurt them in a similar manner.

1%

1%

1%

2%

3%

4% Lower Arms

6% Upper Legs
Upper Arms
Lower Legs
Stomach
12%
Other
53%
Hands
Chest
Feet
17% Face

Figure 2 : Percentage of Self-Injury per Body Part

Self-injury is not something, such as tattooing, piercing, and scarring, done to decorate
the body or something done for sexual pleasure or spiritual enlightenment. It does not
necessarily imply a mental disorder such as schizophrenia or borderline personality. It is
not a suicide attempt. Most importantly, self-injury is not done to be cool or fit in with
the crowd. Self-injury is a faulty, but effective, coping mechanism.

5
Discussion
How Many People Self-Injure?

According to a 1998 estimate, one in a hundred Americans self-injure (Turner, V. J.), but
because self-injury is severely underreported and misdiagnosed, it is expected that the
number is significantly higher. One in eight university students self-injure (Strong,
Marilee) and a study done in California in the 1990’s discovered that school
psychologists were aware of two to three self-injuring students per high school (Turner,
V. J.). According to the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 14-39% of American teens self-
injure and in 2003, nearly 70% of American counselling centre directors reported
increases in cases of self-injury (Milne, Celia). Self-injury has been called “the new
anorexia.” Most of the time shame, social stigma, and guilt cause the self-injurer to do
their best to hide their problem, which means that “getting a true estimate of how often
self-injury actually occurs in the general population is not possible (Secret Scars 120).”
Although there are self-injurers of both sexes, it is more likely in females (See Figure 3).
25%

Female
Male

75%

Figure 3 : Gender of Self-Injurers

Self-injury also comes in “waves”, which means that if one person is known to self-
injure, they will likely be associated with three or four others who also self-injure. This
may be due to “observed learning”; people can pickup on self-injury by observing a self-
injurer, seeing that their habit helps them in some form, and self-injuring themselves.
Fortunately, the chances of seeing another person self-injure are very slim.

What are the Problems a Self-injurer Faces?

The bulk of the “silent epidemic” of self-injury receives no attention from the medical or
mental health community. One of the main reasons for this is that “there is no diagnostic
criteria for self-injury or established guidelines that are used by mental health
professionals or medical doctors (Secret Scars 87)” In the DSM-IV, the manual that
mental health professionals use to diagnose mental illness, self-injury is listed only as a
symptom of certain disorders. In spite of this, self-injury can be classified as an Impulse-
Control Disorder (Not Otherwise Specified) and V. J. Turner in her book, Secret Scars,

6
has described self-injury as a disorder in DSM terms, for inclusion in a DSM-V (See
Figure 4).

Figure 4

Research Criteria for (#XXX.X) Self-Injurious Behaviour Syndrome

A pervasive pattern of deliberate mutilation of one’s own body with intent to cause
injury or damage, but without suicidal intent, in order to provide relief from an
intolerable emotional state, usually beginning in adolescence and marked by the
following:

(1) recurrent impulse to physically harm oneself


(2) intrusive, obsessional thoughts about self-injuring
(3) intolerable, increasing states of emotional anxiety and agitation and/or
emotional numbing and dissociation
(4) feelings of both physical and psychological relief after the act of self-injury
(5) multiple episodes of self-injury
(6) low lethality
(7) impulsivity in other areas that are potentially self-destructive (e.g., alcohol or
substance abuse; eating disorders; high-risk or dangerous behaviours such as
reckless driving or becoming involved in abusive interpersonal relationships)
(8) a general pervasive mood of depression or anxiety

Because their injuries are seldom lethal, self-injurers usually keep up appearances and
work and live normally. However, when they do seek psychological treatment, it typically
does not work out. Psychologists sometimes ignore self-injury out of inexperience,
ignorance, or feelings of disgust. In addition, mental health professionals rarely ask about
self-injuring behaviour and make it the self-injurers job to mention their behaviour. Self-
injurers can lose their jobs or be suspended from school if other people find out they self-
injure. The reactions and strategies for self-injury by psychologists are often distasteful to
the self-injurer. They may demand that the self-injurer stop hurting themselves or risk
being sent to a psychiatric ward or hospital. Many self-injurers who have ended up in the
hospital have been treated badly. They are sometimes stitched up without anaesthetic or
made to feel like a waste of time because of their self-inflicted wounds. For many
doctors, self-injurers are among the most challenging patients to manage.

Why Would Someone Self-injure?

Modern society can be a big cause of self-injuring behaviour. Problems such as sexual
perversions, kleptomania, incest, compulsive shopping, gambling, and self-injury have
been statistically on the rise in the last two decades for the following reasons:
• An extended community is seldom available, because relatives are farther
away, and people move a lot.
7
• More parents work and leave their children to be raised by strangers or
themselves.
• Increased isolation leads to fewer confidants, a “doing instead of saying”
mentality, and increased reliance on technology.
• The media promotes the idea of a “quick fix” or immediate gratification.
• Modern culture has become more body focused: more people are dieting,
getting cosmetic surgery, tanning, dyeing, piercing, and tattooing.

The majority of self-injurers were abused or neglected by their parents. 41% of sexually
or physically abused children will self-injure (Turner, V. J.) and 70% of self-injurers have
been sexually abused (Zila, Laurie MacAniff). This is because recurrent sexual trauma,
especially at the hands of a parent or other trusted loved one, is emotional terrorism. It
causes serious and lasting damage to a child’s emotional, neurological, and physiological
development. It is the ultimate boundary violation, which can shatter a child’s capacity
for trust and intimacy. An abused self-injurer’s scars are a symbolic cry for help; they say,
"I’ve been torn open, intruded upon, broken into," in a very literal way.

The typical self-injurer is a white, middle-class female, who started cutting around
puberty. She is usually intelligent, but with a low self-esteem or depression. She also has
a hard time expressing her thoughts and feelings coupled with an insatiable need for love
and acceptance.

Self-injurers generally have no language of feeling and cannot communicate their inner
turmoil. They also have a hard time controlling their emotions. Some may find it
dangerous to communicate their emotions at home, because their thoughts and feelings
are usually ignored, questioned or rejected. Commonly their thoughts are turned towards
themselves in a negative light. Self-injurers are least dangerous to others, because
aggression is one of the most difficult emotions for them to face.

Many self-injurers feel sad, lonely, depressed, angry, frightened or isolated. Some feel
they have an “inner badness” or worthlessness. Some believe that they are fragile or
poorly understood. Most are regressed and childlike. They are frequently unsure of their
sexuality or sexual orientation and have a lot of identity or gender confusion. Self-
injurers tend to be neutral or asexual. Almost none get pleasure from sex. They find it
disgusting and prefer hugging, snuggling, and kissing, yet a lot of them also go through a
period of promiscuity. 58-65% of female self-injurers hate their period (Zila, Laurie
MacAniff).

One of the most common factors connected to self-injury is shame. The feeling of shame
can result from many different aspects of self-injury, but the three main sources are:

• Wounds, Bruises, and Scars


- Wounds from self-injury can be a life-long reminder of what a self-injurer has
suffered. By exposing their scars, a self-injurer risks people seeing, questioning,
and reacting to their self-injury. When other people question the scars, the self-

8
injurer anticipates their disgust, and may feel compelled to lie. However, some
self-injurers are not ashamed of their scars and see them as battle scars.
• Isolation or Alienation
- Self-injurers often feel shame because of the very nature of their behaviour.
Usually they feel alone, because they do not realize that other people also self-
injure.
• Loss of Control
- Self-injurers can feel that hurting themselves makes them weak. They may even
have tried to stop self-injuring, but found themselves unable to. If they talk to
anyone about it, they do not want to admit to new injuries.

Self-injurers may also have problems with alcoholism, eating disorders, drug addiction,
compulsive exercise, sexual addiction, compulsive spending, workaholism, or co-
dependency. 71% of self-injurers believe they are addicted to self-injury (Turner, V. J.).

Some other characteristics of a self-injurer include:


• A childhood disability or illness in themselves or close family
• Poor social skills
• A fear of change
• An inability or unwillingness to care for themselves
• Rigid thinking or perfectionism
• A feeling that nobody understands and nothing will change

Few self-injurers exhibit all these characteristics, some exhibit only one or two, some
exhibit none.

Some reasons people self-injure are to:


• Control themselves
• Be cleansed
• Calm themselves
• Punish themselves
• Get vengeance on loved ones
• Re-enact abuse
• Release tension and anger
• Stop violent, sexual, or “bad” urges
• Stop numbness or become real.

The pain of self-injury replaces internal pain and people self-injure to put an end to
emotional suffering. It does physically reduce tension by increasing enkephalin levels in
the brain (Strong, Marilee). Self-injury can be a release of painful bottled up emotions. It
can happen when a person has low coping skills or difficulty maintaining emotional
stability. It takes the place of a hug, a compliment, or a mother’s kiss.

9
Conclusion
More people self-injure than is realised by the general population, and it is on the rise.
Self-injury needs to be dealt with, people need to realise that it happens. The same help
that has been made available for people with addictions or eating disorders should be
made available to self-injurers. Doctors and mental health professionals need to be aware
of this so it can be treated. The public needs to be aware of it so they are not disgusted
about it. Self-injurers need to know that they are not alone. They need to know they are
not freaks, nor will most people treat them that way. They need to know it is okay to feel
and that it is safe to talk about it. Stopping self-injury from being a source of shame could
go a long way towards stopping it altogether. Self-injurers need to be aware that they do
have a problem and that the help they need is available; they will not lose their friends or
their jobs for this. They do not need to be ashamed. Self-injurers are still people and self-
injury is not a fad or a phase, but a legitimate problem.

10
Recommendations
If Someone Tells You They Self-injure

The first thing to realize about self-injury is that there is no quick fix. In most cases, a
self-injurer has found in self-injury a coping mechanism that helps get them through life.
That cannot just be taken away from them without first helping them replace it with
something else that is not harmful, because “breaking a deeply ingrained and highly
comforting pattern of behaviour can be one of life’s greatest challenges (Bodily Harm
cover).” It takes time and trust needs to be earned. The most important thing for a self-
injurer is someone who is patient and who will listen to them without judgment, threats,
or prejudice.

Talk to the self-injurer about what they think would be the most helpful thing that could
happen to get them through their problem. Let them know you care, even if you do not
understand. Try not to react too strongly to the behaviour itself, even though it may upset
or frighten you. Let that person know that they can phone you any time to talk to you
instead of cutting. If you cannot do it, set the self-injurer up with someone who can.

If they feel ready, you can explore why they are self-injuring and how they can change
their immediate environment so that self-injury triggers can be changed or stopped.
Following is a list of questions that might be helpful.

• Are there any things you should not do that would break their trust?
• Do they believe they may try to commit suicide?
• How deep are the cuts and how much blood do they lose?
• How deep are the bruises and is there any danger of fracturing bones?
• Do they want to stop?
• Are they ready to stop?
• Can they envision any help they might need that you can provide?

Remind the self-injurer to disinfect their weapons and self-injury areas before and after
they cut, so they heal up. If they are setting themselves on fire, swallowing batteries, or
doing anything else life-threatening, a safe haven, such as a friend’s house, a centre or
support group for self-injurers, or a hospital, should be found immediately.

Try helping the self-injurer find some alternatives. Some useful suggestions are:

• Breathing
• Praying or meditating
• Finding a safe place
• Listening to music
• Singing or dancing
• Reading, writing, or drawing
11
• Doing puzzles
• Walking
• Playing with pets
• Helping people
• Napping
• Taking a bath
• Cleaning

It is a good idea to make sure your emotions are also dealt with. When talking to people
for advice or help, do not reveal the self-injurer’s identity unless it is okay with them.
You may also want to get help for your friend, but you should ask them first. Sometimes
family and friends will institutionalize a self-injurer without making sure the institution
has a program for self-injurers and will not impact them negatively and if a family
member has abused the self-injurer, the family finding out could make things worse.

Another important reason for the self-injurer to be allowed control over the situation is
that once they are inside a psych ward, they lose a lot of personal freedoms and
individual rights. Doctors often proceed to prescribe medication, which while they may
help some people, usually do more harm than good, because there is no evidence of any
bio-chemical cause for self-injury. In addition, even if the self-injurer signs in voluntarily,
it is very difficult to get back out. The hospital can put them on 72-hour hold if they
request to leave the ward, at the end of which they are put on trial to determine their
condition.

The more you know about self-injury, the more you can help a self-injurer. It is helpful to
print out information from web sites or books for the self-injurer to show if she seeks
treatment. It is normally up to the self-injurer to educate the professionals on this issue.
Most of all let them know that many other people do what they are doing, they are not the
only ones, and their self-injury does not have to last forever.

If the Self-Injurer Wants Treatment

Be aware that no single therapeutic approach works with all self-injurers, but long-term
treatment is required. Unfortunately, there are not enough resources for self-injurers and
the cost of therapy is very high. If a self-injurer’s underlying trauma is not resolved, there
will be a relapse. Professionals also say that self-injury is harder to give up than eating
disorders or alcohol.

Help the self-injurer find an institution that has discussion groups about self-injury, so
they get a broader picture and are not isolated. Make sure the doctors do not jump to
conclusions and start medication. Find a professional who has experience with self-
injurers and can help them work through their pain and find new ways of coping.

12
What Not To Do


Do not ignore the self-injury.

Do not believe it just a phase or that they will grow out of it

Do not say a self-injurer is only trying to be popular or copying someone else.

Do not be disgusted and say they are freaks.

Do not tell them not to be stupid

Do not accuse them of keeping secrets

Do not keep guard over them. They are unlikely to appreciate losing their
freedom and privacy, however well intentioned you may be.
• Do not march them off to the doctor to be fixed. Suggest they go to the doctor,
but leave the choice with them.
• Do not start gossiping. No one wants to be known as some sort of freak.

Self-Injury Awareness

March 1 is self-injury awareness day, but because it is a grassroots effort, it is not an


officially recognized day. Some of the things you can do to raise awareness are:

• Wear an orange ribbon or buy self-injury awareness wristbands here:


http://www.selfharm.org/services/wristbands.html. The money goes to LifeSIGNS
(Self-Injury Guidance and Network Support)
• Write letters to your local newspapers. A sample letter is available here:
http://www.selfharm.org/files/self-injury-awareness-newspaper-letter-
version1.doc
• Email the Premier, Gordon Campbell (premier@gov.bc.ca) or email your local
MP
(http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/house/PostalCode.asp?Language
=E&source=sm)
• Distribute this booklet: http://www.selfharm.org/publications/sia/index.html

13
Bibliography
Ackerman, Janelle. "Inquiry Project: Part 2 Self-Mutilation." College of Education &
Human Development. 2000. The University of Texas at San Antonio. 28 Nov.
2005 <http://coehd.utsa.edu/Special/PrizeInquiry/studentpapers/ackerman2.htm>.

CatnipDream. "Discovering The True Nature Of Cutting." BMEZINE: Scarification. 28


Nov 2005 <http://www.bmezine.com/scar/A40825/scrdisco.html>.

Conterio, Karen, Wendy Lader, and Jennifer Kingson Bloom. Bodily harm : the
breakthrough treatment program for self-injurers. New York: Hyperion, 1998.

"Cutter Quotes." Cutter's Main. 15 Nov. 2002. 28 Nov. 2005


<http://www.angelfire.com/rant/cutter/quotes.html>.

Darcy. "Chasing Tomorrows." Online posting. 22 Nov 2005. Unholy Ground


Message board - Cutting. 28 Nov 2005.
<http://p104.ezboard.com/funholygroundmessageboard2frm25>.

Gabrielle. Self-Injury: A Struggle. 2005. 28 Nov. 2005 <http://www.self-injury.net/>.

Gillingham, Rebecca. "Self-Injury: Poll Results." Mister Poll. 19 Nov. 2005. 12 Jan.
2006 <http://www.misterpoll.com/results.mpl?id=1874392852>.

Heath, Chris. "Fiona, The Caged Bird Sings." Rolling Stone 22 Jan 1998. 28 Nov 2005
<http://diogohenriques.sites.uol.com.br/artigos/rs01-98.html>.

"Information about Self-Injury." Lysamena Project on Self-Injury. 08 Mar. 2005. 28


Nov.
2005 <http://www.self-injury.org/siinfo.html>.

Kluger, Jeffrey. "The Cruellest CUT." Time; Canadian edition 16 May 2005: 165. :42.
Curriculum Edition. eLibrary. Stelly's Library. 28 Nov 2005
<http://elibrary.bigchalk.com/libweb/curriculumca/do/document?urn=urn:bigchal
k:US;BCLib;document;109840278>.

Martinson, Deb. ASHIC. 2002. American Self-Harm Information Clearinghouse. 28 Nov.


2005 <http://selfinjury.org/>.

Mercedes. "Bleeding Emo Quotes." Firefly. 08 Aug. 2005. 28 Nov. 2005 < http://turn-to-
flames.tripod.com/id80.html>.

Milne, Celia. "Cutting through the pain." Medical Post 21 Sep 2004: 40. :25. Curriculum
Edition. eLibrary. Stelly's Library. 28 Nov 2005
<http://elibrary.bigchalk.com/libweb/curriculumca/do/document?urn=urn:bigchal
k:US;BCLib;document;100530996>.

14
Morante, Lauren. "Afflictions of The Soul: The Truth Behind Self-Injury." Online
posting. 22 Nov 2005. Unholy Ground Message board - Cutting. 28 Nov 2005.
<http://p104.ezboard.com/funholygroundmessageboard2frm25>.

Sgeir. Leaving Underworld. 01 June 2004. 28 Nov. 2005


<http://www.geocities.com/leavingunderworld/index.htm>.

Strong, Marilee. A bright red scream : self-mutilation and the language of pain. New
York: Penguin, 1999.

Turner, V. J. Secret scars : uncovering and understanding the addiction of self-injury.


Center City: Hazelden, 2002.

Wedge. "Self Injury Awareness." LifeSIGNS: Self-Injury Guidance & Network Support.
2006. LifeSIGNS. 22 Jan. 2006 <http://www.selfharm.org/publications/sia/>.

Zanne. "Institution." Queer Pagan Punk. 1999. 28 Nov. 2005


<http://www.vinland.org/scamp/institute/>.

Zila, Laurie MacAniff, and Mark S Kiselica. "Understanding and counselling self-
mutilation in female adolescents and young adults." Journal of Counselling and
Development 01 Jan 2001: 79. :46. Curriculum Edition. eLibrary. Stelly's Library.
28 Nov 2005
<http://elibrary.bigchalk.com/libweb/curriculumca/do/document?urn=urn:bigchal
k:US;BCLib;document;42663409>.

15
Appendices
The Twelve Steps, Modified for Recovery From Self-Injury

1. We admitted we were powerless over self-injury – that our lives had become
unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we
understood God.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another trusted human being the exact
nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, including ourselves, and became
willing to make amends to all.
9. Made direct amends to such people, including ourselves, wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure those involved or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly
admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with
God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us
and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry
this message to self-injurers and other addicts, and to practice these principles
in all our affairs.

Taken from Secret Scars by V. J Turner (183-184)

16
Other Resources

Cuthand, Doug, Lori Kuffner, and Jennifer Torrance."Patrick's Story." National Film
Board of Canada, Montreal, Quebec. 1999. Video. 30 Nov 2005.

Forrest, Emma. Thin Skin. 2nd ed. New York: MTV Books, 2003.

Greenwood, Melicia. "self-injury: links." shattered innocents. 13 Apr. 2004. 30 Nov.


2005 <http://www.shatteredinnocents.com/si_links.html>.

Lapointe, Pierre."Salt." National Film Board of Canada, Montreal, Quebec. 2000. Video.
30 Nov 2005.

Leigh. Bodies Under Siege. 16 Jan. 1998. WebRing. 30 Nov. 2005


<http://a.webring.com/webring?home;ring=bus>.

Levenkron, Steven. Cutting : understanding and overcoming self-mutilation. New York:


W. W. Norton, 1998.

McCormick, Patricia. Cut. Asheville: Front Street, 2000.

Uberkitty. "When is Cutting Self Injury?." BMEZINE: Scarification . 28 Nov 2005


<http://www.bmezine.com/scar/A40805/scrwheni.html>.

17
Graphs

3%
5%
Emotional outlet/Coping
7% mechanism (faulty or not)

Needs help/love

7% 39%
Trendy/attention-seeking

Crazy/Stupid

9%
Emo/Goth

Suicide attempt

11%
Other

19%
Artistic Expression

What People Believe Self-Injury Is

1%
Family Arguments/divorce
Failing in School
1%
Broken Heart
1% Physical handicap
Bullying
2% 0%
Afraid of being suicidal/hurting someone
3% Saw video/celebrity
Other
0%
3% Mental handicap/disorder
16%
3% Family Abuse

7% Abuse (out of family)


13% Death of close friend/family
7% Failed Suicide Attempt
Sexual Family Abuse
9% Chronic/Terminal Illness
12%
Peer Pressure
9%
12%
Sexual Abuse (out of family)

Self-Injury Causes Perceived by Self-Injurers


18
2%
3%

16%

12-15
16-18
-11
19-21
22+

16%

63%

Average Self-Injury Starting Age

-10
0%

35-40
9% 0%

9%

15-18
39%
19-25
11-14
25-35
13%
+40

30%

Average Age of Self-Injurers


19
Letter 1
110-2779 Tsawout Road, Victoria, BC, V8M 2C8, (250) 544-0613,
Semety@Writing.com

December 5, 2005

Armando Favazza, MD
Department of Psychiatry DC067.00
230 MMMHC
One Hospital Drive
Columbia MO 65212
United States of America

Dear Dr. Favazza:

I am doing a project on self-injury for my grade 12 technical and professional


communications class in Canada.

During the course of my research, I discovered that all my sources referenced your book,
Bodies under Siege. I was however, unable to find it in any of the libraries or bookstores I
looked in.

I would appreciate if you could send me a copy of this book; I am willing to pay for it. I
would also appreciate any professional information you could give me on the topic of
modern self-injury.

As there is a deadline for this project, I ask that you respond as soon as possible. If my
request is a problem for you, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Gillingham

20
Reply to Letter 1

Rebecca,
Dr. Favazza received your letter, and his book, Bodies Under Siege is available online at
Barnes and Noble, Overstock, etc.

Thanks,
Barb
Assistant to Dr. Favazza

Barbara Klund
Department of Psychiatry
University of Missouri-Columbia
3 Hospital Drive, 107A MMMHC
Columbia, MO 65201
P: (573) 882-8913
F: (573) 884-5936

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Letter 2

110-2779 Tsawout Road, Victoria, BC, V8M 2C8, (250) 544-0613,


Semety@Writing.com

December 5, 2005

ASHIC
521 Temple Pl
Seattle, WA 98122
United States of America

To Whom It May Concern:

I am doing a project on self-injury for my grade 12 technical and professional


communications class in Canada and would like more information about National Self-
Injury Awareness Day.

Some of my main questions are:

• Does National Self-Injury Day still exist?


• Is it only applicable in the United States?
• How can I promote this day in Canada?

I would also like a copy of your brochure about self-injury, because I cannot access it on
your website.

I would appreciate if you could respond to this letter promptly, because this project does
have a deadline. If there is anything else you would like to know or you are not able to
comply with my request, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Gillingham

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Fax
Rebecca Gillingham
110-2779 Tsawout Rd
Saanichton BC V8M 2C8
Phone: (250) 544-0613

Fax
To: NEED Crisis & Information Line From: Rebecca Gillingham

Fax: (250) 386-9748 Date: December 5, 2005

Phone: - Pages: 1

Re: Information Request CC: -

( Urgent ( For Review ( Please Comment ( Please Reply ( Please Recycle

I am doing a project on self-injury for my grade 12 technical and professional communications


class at Stelly’s Secondary.

I would like to get information from you because you are a local service.

I would like to know:

• Your phone line’s procedure when dealing with self-injuring callers.

• How many callers have problems with self-injury

• What services are available in BC for self-injurers

If you do not have this information or believe that these questions are better directed to the phone
line volunteers themselves, please let me know.

Also, because there deadline for this project, I would appreciate your response as soon as
possible.

23
E-mail

Dear Ms. Lader:

While doing a project on self-injury for my grade 12 technical and professional


communications class in Canada, I read your book, Bodily Harm.

I found the SAFE program to be a good idea. However, it is only in the United States. So,
I would like to know if it has also been founded in Canada.

If there is nothing like your program here, I would like to know what other treatment
options could be used by self-injurers.

Also, your book mostly focused on self-injurers who injured fairly severely. I would like
to know what help there is for someone who doesn’t self-injure seriously enough to be in
the hospital or outpatient.

My project does have a deadline, so I would appreciate your reply as soon as possible. If
you do not have the information I have requested, please let me know.

Sincerely, Rebecca Gillingham

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Reply to E-mail

Rebecca:
There is no program such as ours in Canada as far as we know. We get numerous
requests from Canadian self-injurers as well as their therapists. We have also treated a
number of Canadian citizens.

Our Impulse Control logs, philosophy, writing assignments etc can all be used on an
outpatient basis. We also have an outpatient program for adolescents as well as
outpatient groups for adolescents and adults.

Thanks for the inquiry and good luck with your project.

Wendy Lader, Ph.D.,


Clinical Director, S.A.F.E Alternatives
800 DONTCUT
www.selfinjury.com

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Memorandum
110-2779 Tsawout Road, Victoria, BC, V8M 2C8, (250) 544-0613,
Semety@Writing.com

MEMORANDUM

TO: MS. SUE SARGENT


FROM: REBECCA GILLINGHAM
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2005
SUBJECT: TPC 12 SELF-INJURY PROJECT

I am researching self-injury for my TPC final project and I would like to


learn how the counselling department deals with this issue.

I would like to know if there is a procedure the counsellors follow when


encountering a self-injurer, and if so, what it is. I would also like to
know if your department has any statistics about what student’s main
concerns are when talking to a counsellor.

If this information is not available, I would appreciate knowing where I


might find it. I would also like to know if it is better to talk to a specific
counsellor about self-injury.

Please respond as soon as possible, because I have a deadline. If this


information is confidential or there are any other problems, please let
me know. I am available in Ms. Tong’s room in block one. You can also
contact me by e-mail or phone.

26