As a teenager, sometimes you may be overwhelmed with feelings of hopelessness or depression. You might try to cope with these negative feelings in a destructive way–but there are healthier options.
- Self-harm is defined as a deliberate and intentional harming of the body.
- The most common form of self-harm is skin cutting, however there are other forms of self-harm including burning, scratching, banging or hitting body parts, interfering with the healing of a wound, pulling out hair, and ingesting toxic materials.
- People who self-harm are not suicidal. When they self-harm it is a way they can physicalize their emotional pain. As their wounds heal, they may begin to feel relief. However, the relief brought about by self -harming is very short-lived and it becomes a ritual.
- People who self-harm are often very secretive about it and are very ashamed. Self-harm is such a taboo subject and that can lead to many misconceptions about those who engage in self-harm.
- People who self-harm do not do it for attention
- People who self-harm are not “crazy” or “dangerous”.
- People who self-harm do not want to die. People who cut are trying to cope with their emotional pain; this may ease their depression. However, people who self-harm over a long period are more likely to attempt suicide.
- If the person’s wounds are not that bad, it’s still a problem. The severity of wounds is not the problem; the problem is that this person is causing injury to themselves.
- Unexplained wounds or scars from cuts, bruises, or burns, usually on the wrists, arms, thighs, or chest.
- Bloodstains on clothing, towels, or bedding; blood-soaked tissues.
- Sharp objects or cutting instruments, such as razors, knives, needles, glass shards, or bottle caps, in the person’s belongings.
- Frequent “accidents.” Someone who self-harms may claim to be clumsy or have many mishaps, in order to explain away injuries.
- Covering up. A person who self-injures may insist on wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather.
- Needing to be alone for long periods of time, especially in the bedroom or bathroom.
- Isolation and irritability.
If you or someone you know is self -harming please remember that you are not alone, there is help for you. If you or someone you know is self -harming, please contact someone for help. See the list below or visit our resources page.
- San Antonio Crisis Line* The Center for Health Care Services 903 W. Martin; San Antonio, TX 78203; 210-223-7233 or 1-800-316-9241
- National Suicide Hotline 800-784-2433
- S.A.F.E. Alernatives 800-366-8288
- 1-800-DON’T-CUT Run by the S.AF.E. Alternatives treatment program, this hotline provides help and information for those who may be struggling with self injury. For more information, visit SelfInjury.com.
- The Self Injury Foundation 1-800-334-HELP