Self-harm or self-injury refers to hurting yourself on purpose. This behavior is a sign of emotional distress and lack of coping skills, and not necessarily a sign of a mental health condition. It is not uncommon for people with overwhelming anger, frustration, or pain to feel the urge to self-harm because they want to feel the pain-killing hormones that are sometimes released when bodies are injured. Sometimes people self-harm because they feel numb and the pain allows them to feel something real or visible.
Self-harm is more common during adolescence. Shaming and judging people for their behavior doesn’t address the underlying pain and may make things worse. People who self-harm are not necessarily trying to kill themselves, but they are in emotional distress. Their behavior should be taken seriously, as they may also have suicidal thoughts.
If you or someone you know is hurting themselves, it is important to identify the underlying feelings and begin to learn alternative coping skills. If you need help finding support or someone to listen, please call us at Teen Link. You don’t have to go through this alone.
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