Self Injury Awareness Day

 In Mental Health, NHS Guidelines

Self Injury Awareness Day (SIAD) falls on every 1st of March and is an international event that is recognised across the world.

What is the aim of Self Injury Awareness Day?

Self Injury Awareness Day aims to educate people globally on self-harm and the detrimental effect it can have on someone’s life. Raising awareness of self-harm is extremely important as there can be a lot of secrecy around it and it can lead to even worse habits. It is important to understand why self-harm can happen to some people and to have empathy with them. Without this, people could feel alone and will feel they can’t confide in anyone about their self-harm for fear of being judged, which will lead to them suffering a great deal more.

The small charity LifeSIGNS state that “The importance of Self injury Awareness Day is to educate people who do not self-harm, and to reach out to people who do”.

Treating people who self-harm

There is still stigma attached to self-harm as a lot of people commonly claim it is just attention seeking behaviour and do not take it seriously. Well, it is extremely serious to the sufferer and usually a way of coping with immense emotional distress. When you look at the statistic that, over half of the people who commit suicide have a history of self-harm, you can see how self-harming can escalate rapidly.

If someone is self-harming, it is important for them to get help, as soon as possible. Self-harming is seen as a mental condition and treatment will consist of going to therapy and discussing your feelings and emotions to get to the bottom of why the person self-harms. Then they can be taught coping strategies that will replace the self-harming and ultimately prevent further episodes. If self-harm is accompanied by depression, then antidepressants might be prescribed to help both situations.

What are the signs of self-harm?

It is important to be able to spot the signs of someone who self-harms. The following are signs of someone self-harming as stated by the NHS:

  • unexplained cuts, bruises or cigarette burns, usually on their wrists, arms, thighs and chest
  • keeping themselves fully covered at all times, even in hot weather
  • signs of depression, such as low mood, tearfulness or a lack of motivation or interest in anything
  • self-loathing and expressing a wish to punish themselves
  • not wanting to go on and wishing to end it all
  • becoming very withdrawn and not speaking to others
  • changes in eating habits or being secretive about eating, and any unusual weight loss or weight gain
  • signs of low self-esteem, such as blaming themselves for any problems or thinking they’re not good enough for something
  • signs they have been pulling out their hair
  • signs of alcohol or drugs misuse

For more information please visit the NHS website.


 

References

  1. http://www.lifesigns.org.uk/siad/
  2. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/self-injury/Pages/Introduction.aspx
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