Self-injury is the intentional act of harming oneself. Over two million cases of self-injury (also referred to as self-harm or self-mutilation) are reported each year in the United States. Because of the staggering number of people affected by this phenomenon, it is vital for people have an understanding of self-injury and about the people who self-injure. Thus, Self-injury Awareness Day has been established. HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York joins the efforts of Self-Injury Awareness Day through educating and providing support services to those in need.
Warning Signs of Self-Injury
There are many ways people self-harm, including cutting or burning. Those who self-injure will likely have physical signs to indicate the presence of self-harm, such as scars, scratches, bruises, or other wounds. Yet because of the shame often accompanying self-injury, individuals tend to be secretive, hiding any signs.
There are other warning signs to look out for if you think a friend or family member might be self-harming.
- Expressing feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
- Emotional and/or behavioral impulsivity
- Keeping sharp objects nearby
- Wearing long sleeves/pants even in warm weather
- Increased isolation from friends and family
Risk Factors for Self-Injury
People of all cultures, genders, and backgrounds struggle with self-injury, and for many, it is a way to cope with stress. Because we all deal with some level of stress, it is important to identify the things that might put someone at an increased risk for self-injury, such as:
- Family history of mental illness
- Presence of psychological disorder (depression, anxiety, eating disorder, etc.)
- Alcohol and/or substance abuse
- Being bullied
- Recent traumatic experience (i.e. – death of a loved one, a rape)
Getting Involved in Self-Injury Awareness Day
If you have been personally affected by self-injury or are just interested in getting involved in Self-Injury Awareness Day, there are many ways to do so.
- Educate yourself – read articles from reputable publications or talk to mental health professionals about self-injury; ask questions!
- Encourage friends and family to join you in self-injury awareness day events
- Hand out fact sheets on self-injury in your school, place of work, community center, etc.
- Attend local Self-Injury Awareness Day events – rallies, lectures, presentations, etc.
- Volunteer – donate your time and help at a Self-Injury Awareness Day event
- Donate money
If you or someone you know struggles with self-injury, contact HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York at 518-218-1118 to find out more about our mental health services and treatment options.