Tuesday, February 24, 2015

March 1st is Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Awareness Day

Non-Suicidal Self-injury (NSSI) – is any deliberate, non suicidal behavior that inflicts physical harm on one's body to relieve emotional distress.

People who engage in
NSSI usually do not involve a conscious intent to die by suicide, though many believe that people who harm themselves are suicidal. There are also numerous myths that surround NSSI, which create a stigma for those struggling with kind of coping behavior. 

Individuals who use NSSI are often trying to:

* Distract emotional pain
* End feelings of numbness
* Calm overwhelming feelings
* Maintaining control
* Self-punish
* Express thoughts that cannot be put into words
* Express feelings for which there are no words

Who engages in Non-Suicidal Self-Injury?

There is no simple portrait of a person who intentionally self-injures. This behavior is not limited by gender, race, education, age, sexual orientation, socio-economics, or religion. However, there are some commonly seen factors:

* NSSI  more commonly occurs in adolescent females.

* Alexithymia is often a characteristic of those who struggle with NSSI.

* Many self-injurers have a history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

* Many self-injurers have co-existing problems like depression, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder or eating disorders.

* Self-injures tend to have been raised in families that discouraged expression of anger, and tend to lack skills to express their emotions.

What are the types of self-injury?

* Cutting
* Burning
* Picking at skin
* Interfereing with wound healing
* Hair-pulling
* Hitting
* Scratching
* Pinching
* Biting
* Embedding


NSSI is often misunderstood, and those seek medical or mental health treatment frequently report being treated badly by emergency room doctors and nurses, counselors, police officers and even mental health professionals.

Finding professionals who specialize in working with Non-Suicidal Self-Injury is IMPERATIVE. With proper treatment, new ways of coping will be learned and slowly the cycle of hurting will end.


If you need help and are not sure where to turn?
Call the S.A.F.E. Alternatives information line at (800) 366-8288 for referrals and support for non-suicidal self-injury. 

In the middle of a crisis?
If you’re feeling suicidal and need help right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at (800) 273-8255

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