Self Harm

The Safa way to get help…

What is self-harm?

In its broadest sense, self-harm is any act carried out which causes harm to the “self”.

Self-harm is any behavior that results in physical harm, causing injuries or pain to your own body. It is not linked with suicidal intent.

This behaviour is usually carried out in a deliberate and often hidden way.

How do people self-harm?

People self-harm in a variety of ways and sometimes do not even recognise they are doing harm to themselves.

  • Alcohol misuse/ binge drinking
  • Body hitting/ knocking/ punching
  • Cutting
  • Driving fast/ recklessly
  • Drug misuse : illicit or prescription
  • Eating disorders
  • Overdoses
  • Over exercising
  • Pulling hair out
  • Risky sexual behaviour
  • Self neglect
  • Skin burning/ picking
  • Throwing themselves down stairs

Note: This is not a fully comprehensive list, can you think of other ways?

Who Self-harms?

People from all walks of life self-harm, regardless of:

  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Ability / Disability
  • Education
  • Sexuality
  • Age
  • Religion
  • Background
  • Social Class

One in 10 young people across the UK have self-harmed by the age of 16. It is thought to be the second highest reason for A&E admissions.

It`s hard to get precise figures on self-harm as definitions tend to differ. Also, the level of taboo around the subject is so high that most people keep it concealed and this naturally omits them for research.

When Do people Self-harm?

  • Its easier to cope with a physical pain than their emotional discomfort, i.e as a coping mechanism
  • To release unbearable feelings of anxiety grief and / or anger
  • They need to relieve feelings of shame or guilt
  • They are trying to tell others they need help
  • They need to have control over something in their life
  • They want to feel alive
  • They are feeling confused and overwhelmed

You are not alone.

There is always hope!

Why Do people Self-harm?

Research suggests there`s a wide range of contributory factors that can trigger self-harm. The individual who self-harms has usually faced some very difficult and harmful events in their life, often as a child but occasionally as an adult. Examples of situations that may be behind it:

  • Alcohol and drug misuse
  • Bullying
  • Childhood neglect
  • Death / Loss
  • Discrimination
  • Eating disorders
  • Emotional abuse
  • Family issues
  • Faulty self-beliefs
  • Low self esteem
  • Physical abuse
  • Self-hatred
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexuality concerns

Note: This is not a fully comprehensive list, there can be many other things behind it.

Moving Forward

Self-harm is often used as a coping strategy so stopping or reducing is not a short-term solution. Therefore new coping strategies need to be learned to provide individuals with healthier ways ahead. SAFA offers a complete package tailored to individual needs.