Self-harm - a brief overview


Self harm is a hugely misunderstood behaviour often used as a coping mechanism generally self harm is the deliberate act of causing harm to oneself, any action designed to inflict pain on the body can be classed as self harming behaviour, this can include:

  • Cutting, scratching
  • Burning
  • Biting
  • Hair pulling, hair cutting
  • Punching, hitting, whipping yourself
  • Punching objects
  • Purposeful self-neglect
  • Substance abuse, poisoning

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence describes self harm as ‘Intentional self poisoning or injury, irrespective of the apparent purpose of the act’.  NICE 2004

Self-harm can affect anyone, they can be of any age, any sex, sexuality or ethnicity and in any type of employment.  Each sufferer will have a different relationship with self harm, and  factors can range from feelings of isolation and low self-esteem, to bullying and high anxiety. There are many reasons behind self harm, triggers such as bullying, stress, family breakdown, dysfunctional relationships, financial worries, childhood abuse, financial worries and sexual assault can start or perpetuate this behaviour.

Self-harming tends to be a very private act and is considered to be a coping strategy which the self-harmer sees as a release from emotional worries and gives the sufferer a feeling of control.

Uncovered will be featuring Self Harm in a forthcoming issue, until we have further information on the subject, why not try one of these useful websites:

Further reading

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