What is self-harm?
Who self-harms?
Why do people self-harm?
How can you help yourself?
How can you help someone else?
You are not alone

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It seems to be a common thought that people who deliberately scrape, cut, burn or otherwise harm their body, are either doing it to try and kill themselves, or doing it to get attention. This is rarely the case.

This site is for those who want to understand.

Girl cuts armWhat Is Self-Harm?

Self-harm is the deliberate damaging of body tissue, more often than not, without conscious intent to commit suicide. It has also been described as "self-mutilation", "self-injury", "auto-aggression", "delicate self-cutting", and a number of other terms.

Little is known about self-harm and yet it is quite a common act of abuse. Most see it as "attention-seeking" or "manipulative" but it can be better described as the expression of an inner scream.

Cutting the skin with razors, scalpels or broken bits of glass are the most commonly seen methods of self-harm, although other methods include burning, scratching, carving the skin, interfering with wounds, punching oneself (or punching walls), and also pressing objects (including needles) into the skin. Often the body's natural 'pain killers' will take over so that when a person harms themselves they frequently do not feel 'realistic' pain.

Bloody armThis self-inflicted injury could be viewed as a symbolic way of expressing deep distress - a non verbal form of communication in which feelings are expressed through self-injurious actions, where they can be dealt with in a more visible way, yet because of its very visibility, self-harm is often treated with mistrust and prejudice.

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What is it? | Who does it? | Why? | Help yourself | Help someone else | You're not alone