Nonsuicidal self-injury is self-harm; it is an act of purposefully harming own body through cutting or burning. Though it is not a suicide attempt, it is a harmful way of coping with pain, emotions, frustration, and intense anger. Post-which, people think they will feel calm and release tension, but they will experience shame, guilt, injury pain, and the return of painful emotions. However, life-threatening injuries are generally not intended; self-harm increases the possibilities of severe and fatal self-aggressive actions.
Self-harm might result from:
- Poor coping mechanism or skills: Typically, self-harms are the results of an inability to cope in proper healthy ways with psychological pain.
- Difficulty controlling or managing emotion: A person has difficulty expressing, understanding, or regulating emotions. The mix can trigger self-harm while feeling lonely, worthless, panicked, angry, guilty, self-hatred, rejection, or confused sexuality.
Through self-harm, a person might try to:
- Manage or lower severe distress or anxiety
- Distract themselves from painful emotions through physical pain
- Feel a sense of control over their body
- Feel something when they are emotionally empty
- Express internal feelings
- Communicate distress feelings or depression to the outside world
- Be punished for their faults
There is no determined way to prevent self-harm but reducing the risks is possible through strategies involving individuals and communities. Close ones like parents, friends, teachers, family members, coaches, or school nurses can be a help by:
- Recognize people at risk and offer help: Teach them resilience and a suitable, healthy coping mechanism for episodes of distress.
- Encourage social networks: Several people who self-harm are lonely and disconnected. Helping a person in distress can improve communication skills and pain.
- Increase awareness: Learn more about warning signs of self-harm and how to support them during those episodes.
- Teach to seek help: Teach children, teens, and young adults to seek help during distress. During times of depression, people may feel stressed about seeking help.
- Spread the word about media: news, music, or other obvious media that can feature self-harm might trigger vulnerable children or young adults to experiment. Teaching children about critical thinking skills can influence them to reduce self-harm.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022