A few points to remember this Self-Harm Awareness Day. . . .
Self-harm isn’t a teenage only issue.
There’s this assumption that self-harm is only a problem for young people – not adults or children. It’s as if the need to self-harm begins as soon as puberty starts and suddenly stops when when you reach your 18th birthday. Due to the amount of changes that happen during adolescence – from moving schools, searching for identity and changes in hormones – self-harm can become more apparent at this age. The reality is that self-harm can affect anyone of any age and we must remember that.
Self-harm doesn’t need to be a taboo topic.
There are so many damaging myths that need to be busted around self-harm. These myths lead to a negative stigma which can result in people not seeking the support they need. By learning the truth about self-harm, we can reduce this stigma and create a culture of support and recovery. We can educate ourselves and others to become more emotionally healthy beings and say, ‘It’s OK to not be OK.’ Learning about self-harm doesn’t need to be scary or only for experts. Taking time to gain a simple understanding of the ‘what, how and why’ of self-harm can equip us to support our families, friends, co-workers and even ourselves.
Recovery from self-harm is possible.
Self-harm is falsely seen as an attempt to end a person’s life. In most cases this is simply not true. Due to this negative stigma and false information, we often don’t talk about life after self-harm. For many people self-harm is a mechanism used to cope with life – it’s a physical response to an emotional pain. By learning healthier ways to cope and addressing underlying issues, we can learn to manage life in a healthier way.
Check out the following links for more information on self-harm:
Don’t forget Exploring Emotional Health has a whole chapter dedicated to self-harm for you and your youth group.