March is Self-Harm Awareness Month, also referred to as Self-Injury Awareness Month. Many people are not aware of the signs that someone they love is engaging in self-harm. This behavior is generally secretive, so the symptoms are not always obvious. Here, you will learn how to identify self-injuring and what you can do to help. Connecting a loved one with self-harm and addiction recovery resources can help turn their life around.
BrightView’s comprehensive treatment programs include mental health services and addiction recovery resources that can address the root of self-harm. If you are self-injuring or know someone, please reach out to us online or at 1-833-510-HELP to start the healing process.
Self-Injury Awareness: What You Need to Know
It is helpful to know why someone may engage in self-harm. This behavior serves as a coping mechanism for emotional struggles. When people do not have healthy coping skills or the resources needed to develop them, they may become overwhelmed by stress and negative emotions. Self-injuring allows them to transfer that emotional pain to physical pain.
Some common self-harming behaviors are:
- Hair pulling
- Skin picking
The goal of self-harm is to inflict pain on oneself, but it is not intended as a suicide attempt. The person is trying to control where their pain comes from rather than ending their life.
How to Identify Self-Harm in a Loved One
Knowing how to identify the signs of self-harm can be somewhat challenging since most people engaging in this behavior attempt to cover up their injuries. This is not an attention-seeking act, so it can easily be overlooked unless you know how to spot it.
Some of the signs of self-injury to be aware of include:
- You notice unexplained injuries that appear self-inflicted. People engaging in self-harm generally try to keep their behavior discreet.
- The person begins to isolate themselves. An ordinarily outgoing or social person may start spending a lot of time alone and avoid participating in activities with others they used to enjoy.
- The person seems to have a low opinion of themselves. You may witness this either in their actions or by the way they talk about themselves.
- Their work or school performance is suffering. This is especially noticeable if the person used to be a stellar employee or student.
People that withdraw from others, appear depressed, and fail to follow through on their responsibilities may be self-harming. These signs can also indicate a substance use disorder or a mental health condition such as depression. Regardless of the cause, you must encourage your loved one to get professional help.
How Mental Health Services Can Help You Overcome Self-Injury
When someone you love is self-harming, they need the help of mental health services to overcome this destructive behavior.
These services can help them heal by:
- Identifying mental health conditions or substance use disorder – Self-harm is often accompanied by SUD, a mental health disorder, or both. Getting the right diagnosis can help healthcare professionals design an appropriate treatment plan.
- Teaching them healthier ways to deal with difficult thoughts, feelings, and emotions – Since the root of self-injury is an inability to cope with emotional pain, the best treatment would help them develop healthy coping skills.
- Discovering self-harm triggers – A therapist can help them identify people, places, or things that trigger them to self-injure. Once they know these, they can create a plan to avoid or manage their triggers to decrease the risk of further self-harm.
Self-injury can be a very touchy subject, so if you suspect someone in your life is self-harming, it is important to approach them calmly and without judgment. They are experiencing deep emotional pain, so they need gentleness and encouragement to get help.
Raise Self-Injury Awareness with Support from BrightView
Recovery from self-injury is possible, and BrightView can help you get there. We honor Self-Injury Awareness Month by helping people recognize the signs of self-harm so they can reach out for help. Contact us online or call us today at 1-833-510-HELP to learn how our mental health services can change your life.