Non-suicidal self-injury, such as cutting, burning, picking, and self-hitting is found to occur in 10 to 20 percent of middle and high school age students in the United States.
There are many reasons that young people engage is non-suicidal self-injury. They may indulge in this behavior to manage painful feelings of current or past trauma, to punish themselves, to exert influence over others, to avoid or combat suicidal thoughts, to feel pain or relief, to show control over their body or a number of other reasons. People that engage in non-suicidal self-injury may have serious mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. When people self-injury their intent is not to die.
Things you might notice in someone who self-injures:
Cuts/scars on legs, arms or stomach
Having frequent “accidents” or unexplained injuries
Wearing long sleeves or covering the legs when it doesn’t make sense (i.e. it is 90 degrees outside)
Finding razors or other sharp objects in the person’s possession
Going through a lot of first aid supplies in a short period of time
Pulling out hair or eyelashes
Difficulty handling emotions or problems with relationships
*Mental disorders should only be diagnosed by a trained medical professional. Symptoms are listed for information only and not for diagnostic purposes. Diagnoses is complicated and can have many variables. DO NOT ATTEMPT to diagnose yourself or someone else based on symptoms you see listed herein in yourself or someone else. If you are concerned and recognize some of the listed symptoms, seek help from a trained professional.
Always show more kindness than seems necessary, because the person receiving it needs it more than you will ever know.
Cognitive behavioral Therapy (CBT), a type of therapy that teaches people how to change the relationship between their thoughts, emotions and behavior. CBT can involve such things as teaching a person appropriate coping skills, discussing how thoughts impact or behavior, etc.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, (DBT), is a type of therapy that is focused on enhancing a person’s motivation and teaching and building skills that a person can apply to specific challenges or events in their lives.
Sometimes medication will be prescribed to treat the symptoms of an underlying illness the person may have such as depression, anxiety or bi-polar disorder.
The specific treatment plan should only be determined by a medical or mental health professional after a thorough exam and taking into consideration each individual’s independent history.