two women sitting on couch
By BrightView
Published: March 22, 2022
Updated: March 10, 2022

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 888.501.9865 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:

  • Cutting
  • Burning
  • Hair pulling
  • Headbanging
  • Hitting
  • 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 888.501.9865 to learn how our mental health services can change your life.