Walsh (2012) defines self-harm (referring to direct self harm) as
self-inflicted physical harm severe enough to cause tissue damage or leave visible marks that do not fade within a few hours. Acts done for the purpose of suicide, or for ritual, sexual or ornamental purposes are not considered self-injury.
Today is March 1st – it’s Self Injury Awareness Day.
Self injury is also known as direct self harm, or non-suicidal self injury. It is not a mental disorder but is common in people with mental health difficulties.
Self harm is when someone intentionally damages or injuries their body. It is recognized as a way to cope with overwhelming feelings, which does not have suicidal intent. It is an attempt to stay alive by alleviating overwhelming emotional distress.
Self harm is linked to many mental health conditions, and often concealed. It is not “just to get attention”, and it should not be minimized or dismissed. Many people who self harm feel shame or guilt as a result, and will try to keep their self harming secret.