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Self-harm

Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body. It is a way of expressing deep emotional feelings such as low self-esteem, or a way of coping with traumatic events, such as the death of a loved one.

Self-harm is an expression of personal distress, rather than an illness, although it can be linked to other mental health conditions such as depression.

An indicator of the deliberate infliction of harm to one's self may include:

  • cutting or slashing the skin
  • burning the skin
  • punching, biting or using blunt force on the body
  • hanging, strangulation, suffocation or self-poisoning
  • misusing alcohol or drugs
  • refusing food or water or eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, binge eating or bulimia.

People often try to keep self-harm a secret and may cover up their skin and avoid discussing the problem. The signs may include unexplained injuries and signs of depression or low self-esteem.

Someone who is self-harming can seriously hurt themselves, so it is important that they speak to a doctor about the underlying issue and about any treatment or therapy that might help them.

Source: NHS Choices, UK (Self-harm)

Last reviewed: August 2015

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Suicide and Self-Harm - Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health

People who engage in self-harm deliberately hurt their bodies. The term 'self-harm' (also referred to as 'deliberate self-injury' or parasuicide) refers to a range of behaviours, not a mental disorder or illness.

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Self-harm

Self-harm refers to people deliberately hurting their bodies. Its usually done in secret and on parts of the body that may not be seen by others. The most common type of self-harm is cutting, but there are many other ways of self-harming including burning or punching the body, or picking skin or sores.

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Self-harm involves deliberately physically harming oneself.

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Self-harm is often a way of coping with strong emotions. It can be hard to change self-harming behvaiours but with the right help you can learn more positive coping skills.

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What is self-harm? | Self-harm | ReachOut Australia

There are many reasons why someone self-harms, but most often its a way of coping with difficult emotions.

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Deliberate Self-Harm | myVMC

Self-harm refers to the deliberate, direct destruction of the body that results in tissue damage

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Self-help for self-harm | Self-harm | ReachOut Australia

In addition to other forms of support, self-help strategies can be useful in managing urges to self-harm.

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