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Self Harm | More Than Cutting

What do you think of when someone mentions the words self harm?

For most people, it will be someone with cuts and scars on their wrists. There is a reason for that - there are many people who do harm by cutting their forearms but there are many other ways we can harm ourselves that might not be noticed because we don’t know what to look for.

While this is uncomfortable, it is important to understand the different methods that people turn to so that we might see others might miss so we can get people the support they need.

Here are some of the different ways people harm themselves to cope with their pain:

  • Inflicting cuts with any type of sharp object, usually on an area of the body not normally exposed

  • Scratching and/or picking at scabs

  • Burning the skin

  • Hitting the body

  • Biting

  • Pulling out hair – including eyelashes and eyebrows

  • Breaking bones or severely bruising the body

  • Deliberately getting into fights

  • Exercising excessively

  • Inserting objects into their body

  • Deliberate risky behaviour

  • Swallowing things - this can be self poisoning (taking overdoses or inappropriate substances) or objects that cause harm to the body.

Many people who self harm will cut but we mustn’t assume just because someone isn’t cutting themselves doesn’t mean they aren’t harming themselves. While it is important to know about how someone might harm themselves - when supporting someone struggling with self harm it is important to remember to focus on what is causing them to harm themselves and make sure they are getting support.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the issues, there is help available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1 800 273 8255 - any time, 24/7. For more information on this topic, email us - info@livempowered.org - and we will share resources with you.

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