Mind Wellness continues its effort towards reducing stigma attached with mental illnesses.
1st March is celebrated as the SELF INJURY AWARENESS day #SIAD worldwide.
It is essential to raise awareness about self-injury. This leads to understating and empathy towards those who feel alone and suffer in silence.
Q.What is Self-injury?
A. Self harm or Self injury is act of intentional, direct injury of body tissues, but done without any suicidal intentions.
Most common examples:
- Self-cutting usually in easy access places e.g. – wrists, forearms, inner thighs etc.
- Hitting or banging or punching objects/ self
- Intentionally preventing wounds from healing
Q.Did you know?
A. It is estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) that 2010, 880,000 deaths occur as a result of self-harm. However, the rate of self-injury without suicidal intent is even higher. Most don’t report it, and therefore the records are poor. It is more commonly seen in 14-24 years of age.
Q. Is it common? Why does anyone engage in it?
A. Yes, it is far more common than you would imagine. Infact, we all know someone who may have indulged in self-injury at some point of his or her life.
Why one engages in is a question with myriad responses. Some individuals who practice it, report sadness, emotional numbness, anxiety, stress &confusion about where their life is heading.
Many of my patients have said that they do so, to manage intolerable feelings, or to feel something atleast. Others say they want to take control of their body, express feelings via this act, and even to forget past traumatic issues.
Q.Any clinical diagnosis of these individuals?
A. One diagnosis does NOT fit all. A thorough history may reveal diagnosis ranging from depression, anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, childhood sexual abuse, substance abuse, PTSD, eating disorder.
Q.What can I do as a family/friend/relative or colleague?
Know more. Detect. Listen. Don’t judge. Help.
- KNOW MORE: When we are aware about an issue at hand, we consciously notice it happening around us. There may be people at work, home that have indulged in self-injury, but you may have never noticed.
- DETECT: Look for signs like self-cutting in someone you feel is facing a tough time. If some friend keeps “Accidentally” falling or hurting themselves repeatedly, take notice.
- LISTEN: Talk to them and listen. This is the biggest therapeutic tool.
- DON’T JUDGE: Everyone wants to be liked. Avoid using terms such as – “why did you?” “How could you?” “Are you crazy or stupid?”
- HELP: Reach out and help someone seek professional help when necessary.
Q.What can a person who wishes to indulge in self-injury do instead?
A. There are many things that you can do. Simply follow our ABCDs.
- ASK FOR HELP: It is perhaps the most difficult thing to do. But it all begins by first asking someone for help. Try it. They will understand.
- BUTTERFLY PROJECT: This is a beautiful initiative for those who indulge in self-harm in the form of wrist cutting, slashing, burning etc.
Next time you feel like hurting yourself, draw a butterfly on the area you would generally cut and write a name of a loved one next to it. DONOT scrub the butterfly off. If you cut before the butterfly disappears on its own, it dies and if you avoid cutting, it lives on. You can even ask another person to draw on you.
- CARE about someone else: If you have been through this yourself, help someone else who may be going through the same thing.
- DARE TO SPEAK UP: Open up, Speak up about mental health. Talk about how self-injury has affected your life and it certainly doesn’t solve the issues at hand.
If you have any more questions about self-injury, please feel free to write in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org