Self-Injury Awareness Day (SIAD) is a worldwide awareness event on March 1, marking the start of Self-Harm Awareness Month. In the United States alone, there are nearly two million reported cases of self-harm annually. Approximately 17% of all people will engage in self-harm in their lifetime. While self-harm is not a mental health disorder, it indicates the need for better-coping skills. Additionally, self-harm is frequently associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD), PTSD, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.
What Are the Causes of Self-Harm?
Self-harm most often begins in adolescence, around age 14, and continues into early adulthood. Self-harm is more common in girls, resulting in a gender-based stigma that girls who self-harm are attention-seeking. However, we know that self-harm occurs across all genders, races, ages, beliefs, and incomes.
The reasons that people engage in practices of self-harm are complicated. Typically, individuals who self-harm have low self-esteem and low self-worth. Self-harm often stems from overwhelming feelings of anger, frustration, or pain. Commonly reported reasons for engaging in self-harm are to find a release from feelings associated with:
- Physical abuse or neglect
- Sexual abuse
- Inability to verbally express oneself
- Self-loathing or self-hatred
- Identifying as LGBTQ+
- Emotional numbness
Practicing self-harm is an attempt to gain a sense of control. Adolescence is a challenging and often pressure-filled time. Without the proper coping skills or support systems, many teens rely on self-harm as a release. Studies indicate that teenagers who have friends who self-harm are more likely to do it themselves. People who self-harm often experience intense feelings of guilt and shame, which leads to more self-harm. Unfortunately, this can quickly become a vicious cycle that sometimes becomes ritualistic.
Promoting Mental Health Through Awareness
The efforts of Self-Harm Awareness Month to expose the public to facts about the effects of self-harm are beneficial to all and can encourage those suffering to seek help. Self-harm is a symptom of an underlying mental health disorder that requires immediate treatment. There are many practical things we can do for ourselves and others to help promote good mental health, such as:
- Talking about your feelings
- Staying active
- Eating well and getting adequate sleep
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs
- Caring for others
- Connecting with others
- Asking for help when you need it
If you have turned to self-harm to cope, it is time to seek professional help. Untreated mental health disorders worsen and lead to other physical and mental health conditions. There are effective treatments for self-harm that can help you feel in control and manage emotions with healthy coping skills.
Break the Cycle of Self-Harm at Harmony Hills
If you or a loved one is practicing self-harm, a mental health treatment center is ideal for seeking help. Through the self-harm/self-injurious treatment program at Harmony Hills, you or your loved one will learn to identify maladaptive behaviors and uncover the source of them. Then you can begin to develop healthy coping skills in a safe and supportive environment away from the triggers of daily life.
At Harmony Hills, we understand that the thought of stopping self-injurious behaviors can be frightening because people come to rely on them. We can give you healthy tools to manage your emotions by utilizing an array of evidence-based therapies, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- EMDR therapy
- Family therapy
- Trauma therapy
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
We believe in treating all parts of a person damaged by mental health disorders, so we also provide holistic approaches, including yoga, meditation, mindfulness, nutrition, exercise programs, and more.
Contact Harmony Hills for Self-Harm Treatment Options
The connection between self-harm and mental health disorders is strong. Individuals who suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD, and eating disorders are far more likely to engage in self-harm. Harmony Hills’ experienced and compassionate staff can help you or a loved one get to the root causes of your self-harm and learn new ways to cope with life’s stressful times. Call us at 855.494.0357 to learn more.