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Adolescence and Self-Harm
Self-Injury is the act of intentionally harming the body, and this is often used a coping tactic for one suffering from emotional pain. A person may engage in this activity to ease any intense feelings that seem to be taking over. For a moment, it may provide a sense of calmness or relief. Self-harm can surface due to varying causes and is often associated with psychological disorders. Common acts associated with self-harm include cutting skin, burning, preventing wounds from healing, and hitting oneself to the point of injury. Self-harm does not mean that one wants to end their life, rather it is a way to cope within a time of difficulty.
(Canadian Mental Health Association, 2015)
It is important to recognize any of these potential signs in order to protect and encourage those to seek professional help.
Potential warning signs of self-injury
Covering up: it is common for one to wear long sleeves and pants
Unexplained wounds and scars
Frequent accidents may be used to explain associated behaviours
Blood stains on clothing, towels, tissues, bedding etc.
Sharp objects/instruments that can be used for cutting
Although self-harm may provide some sense of temporary relief, it is crucial to recognize that this behaviour is not a permanent solution. Self-injurious behaviours can actually cause more problems long-term. Feelings and emotions will always be present and any struggles will still need to be dealt with. Miscalculations or unsafe methods always pose the risk for serious injury. When engaging in this type of behaviour, it is important to do so safely and properly.
If this activity is being hidden from others, it may be difficult to detect and stop from happening. It is important to reach out and seek support if you are engaging in any of these behaviours. A professional can work with you, and help you cope and overcome any personal difficulties.