March the 1st, is Self Injury Awareness day. Everyone knows someone who self harms or has self harmed in the past. Show your support and wear or draw an orange ribbon to show your awareness. Self harm isn’t a joke, it’s a coping mechanism and can be a symptom of other mental health problems. Smile at someone, it could make their day.
The website Responsibility defines the act of self harm as: ‘behavior of deliberately causing oneself pain or injury.‘
Today is a day set aside to raise awareness of self harm. Self harm is such a taboo subject that spreading awareness of this struggle that many people face every single day. Self harm isn’t a failed suicide attempt.
Facing up to an Emergency Department after an episode of self harm borders on terrifying. You never quite know the reception you are going to receive. It could be revulsion, scorn or if you are lucky compassion. An article in the European Journal of Emergency Medicine states
‘Staff in the emergency departments of hospitals are reported as being negative or ambivalent toward suicidal or self-harming individuals. According to the literature, these patients are subjected to stigmatization and lack of empathy. This phenomenon has been linked to a decreased quality of care offered to these individuals and to missing an important opportunity to prevent further suicidal behavior or repetition of deliberate self-harm’
If this is how ‘professionals’ treat people who self harm…then the general uneducated public can only be thought to be worse.
For me self harm is like an addiction. It’s like any coping mechanism that we develop, we fall back to it when familiar obstacles present themselves. The hard part is replacing these behaviours with something positive. Something that gives the same ‘rush’ because for me that is what is was. It made me feel when everything else was numb.
If you or someone you know self harms please get help. It might not provide an instant cure but it’s the first step in releasing the grip that self harm has.
This was such a great support for me as a teen: http://self-injury.net/
Check out these websites for more info:
If you have self harmed please seek medical treatment at your nearest Emergency Department.