Shockingly, 2% to 6% of the general public had engaged in self-harm at least once in their lifetime. Where the peak of self harm actions are among students, ages 16 – 22, see falls in 13% to 35%. For most, the problem will resolve before adulthood but sadly, 10% of the remaining still continues to self harm throughout their adult lives.
With such a high percentage of people doing self harm, it is important that these people receive self harm help from their surroundings. Those around people who self harm should know how to spot self harm signs and actions to be able to give them the help that they need through your own self harm awareness.
Bare in mind that, if you know someone doing self-harm, you should not be horrified and label them “crazy” or “freak” for it brings about more insecurities for them and it doesn’t help at all; Instead approach them with understanding and acceptance.
It is important to know what drives these individuals to self harm in order to help them resolve their problems. Helping someone who self harms is a noble act; you are fighting their demons with them. People who self harm clearly have reasons as to why they are so unhappy and insecure. These reasons can drive them into injuring themselves, or even to suicide in some extreme cases.
A research stated that the most common cause of reason for self-harm is childhood trauma. It may relate to past-abuse, flashbacks, negative feelings about themselves or any other traumatic events that had occurred earlier. People who suffer in traumatic events may have unstable mood swings and emotions, recurring nightmares and a constant sense of fear. They may also feel numb, disconnected and have problem trusting other people. These are common traits of a trauma survivor, but with care and support it is possible to be able to open up and trust again.
If you notice someone with suspicious injuries or someone confide in you that they are cutting themselves, don’t panic and deal with your feelings first. You may feel shocked, disgusted or even angry, but understand that this is normal and deal with it before you try to help them. These things can help with dealing with self harm so once you’ve done managing your feelings, you help them by acknowledging and understanding their problem, what causes them this pain and urge to self harm; put yourself in their shoes. Then you offer your support without any judgment and unwanted criticism. Know that a person who self harms already feel ashamed and lost therefore you judging them is not in any way helpful. Give them your support by letting them know that you are available.
Encourage communication and listen.
Here’s a story of a mother and daughter about self-harm and how they finally got the strength to get help.
Read more at Self-Injury: One Family’s Story