Understanding Self-Harm: A Guide For Self-Harm Awareness Month

Trigger Warning: The following content discusses self-harm in detail. If you find such content difficult to read, please refrain from reading it and take care of yourself. 

It is easy to feel lonely and alone while struggling with self-harm. You feel like no one will understand the pain and hurt you feel. You feel like there is no other way to fix the burning pain in your head or the anxiety that consumes your existence. You fear being judged and called out as an attention seeker if you ever try to ask for help regarding your issues. 

Self-harm is an extremely complex and sensitive issue to deal with. Although not an official mental health condition, it affects the life of way more people than you think. As per the official statistics by Mental Health America, 5% of adults in the country report self-harming behavior. The problem is even more prominent in teenagers, with 17% of them reporting instances of some form of self-harm. Despite its prevalence, the issue continues to be hushed out and misunderstood in the mainstream narrative. 

March is dedicated as the self-harm awareness month to spread light on the topic of self-injury and help people dealing with it come out of the shade of shame and secrecy. This self-harm awareness month, we encourage our readers to raise open and supportive conversations around the issue and become more aware of the possible warning signs. 

To help you with this, let us dive deeper into what self-harm is and how we can provide help and assistance. 

Self-Harm Awareness Month

What Is Self-Harm?

While commonly misjudged as signs of attention-seeking behavior, self-harm is actually a way for people to deal with intense and uncomfortable emotions and traumatic life instances. It can also be a cry for help when they cannot voice their pain. It is sometimes a way to regain control of their life, fight unbelievable stress and tension, and handle scary feelings, moods, and emotions.

People indulging in self-harm have a very low opinion of themselves and frequently deal with self-hatred. They feel constantly hopeless, sad, anxious, and dissociated from reality. Self-harm becomes a way to get temporary relief from these problems. 

Albeit temporary, pursuing this sense of relief sets in motion a vicious cycle of self-injury. Once people get used to self-harm as a coping mechanism, it can take months and even years to stop. It can lead to dangerous risks, including loss of life in worst-case scenarios. 

Read more: Suicide Prevention Day: How To Be A Part Of It?

What are the signs of self-harm?

While the popularized notions point toward cutting as the only form of self-harm, it can actually take multiple forms – from scratching, burning, and lethal overdosing. Additionally, there are much more subtle signs of self-harm that can easily go unnoticed if not paid attention to. The primary purpose of the self-injury awareness month is to make people aware of these warning signs so they can find timely help for themselves and their loved ones. 

The signs of self-harm include:

  • social isolation,
  • lack of motivation,
  • irritated and sulky mood,
  • drastic changes in sleeping and eating habits,
  • off-handed mentions of self-harming behaviors,
  • indulging in risk-taking behaviors and
  • unexplained signs of injury. 

How To Help Someone Indulging In Self-Harm?

When a friend or loved one confides in you about their self-harming tendencies, you might often feel lost and fail to understand how to help them. The self-harm awareness month aims to empower us all to step up and help people in need with the right information and trusted resources for help. 

If you or someone you know is dealing with self-harm issues, there are multiple resources to help. These include:

  • Under 19: People under 19 can report any problem on the childline website or call them at 0800 1111.
  • The Mix: If you are under the age of 25, then you can refer to the Mix on their website or call them at 0808 808 4994.
  • Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: You can also call the 24-hour crisis helpline in the USA at 988.

Read more: What Happens When You Call a Suicide Hotline


Self-harm is a sensitive issue that can take many forms. It can be a way for people to cope with their emotions or call for help in dire situations. Despite how complex it is, it is important that we as a society genuinely make an effort to understand it. Self-harm awareness month is the perfect opportunity to broaden your understanding of self-injurious behavior and find ways to help.

We hope this post will help you understand what self-harm is and how to support those dealing with it. It is essential because when we as a society come together to lift each other, we create an empathetic and open space for people to voice their struggles and find relief.

Therapy is an excellent resource for anyone dealing with self-harming behavior. Access to therapy is now easier than ever with the advent of online therapy platforms. To know more about them, click here.

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