What is Non-Suicidal Self Injury?

Updated: Jan 26, 2019

SIAD (Self-injury Awareness Day) is recognized around the world on March 1st of every year since it started in 2002. “Self-injury is a coping mechanism. An individual harms their physical self to deal with emotional pain, or to break feelings of numbness by arousing sensation.” (LifeSIGNS at www.lifesigns.org.uk) SIAD is a day when we bring increased awareness to the issue of those who self-harm.

Increased awareness is very important because it results in greater empathy, understanding, and recognition of signs we need to look for in those who self-injure. It also helps to reduce any judgement or stigma that can often be attached. Increased awareness also greatly benefits those who self-injure because it helps them know that they are not alone and opens the door for them to get the help that they need.

Anyone can self-injure. It is not determined by age, race, gender, or sexual orientation. There are, however, certain common characteristics that those who self-injure may have. According to www.lifesigns.org.uk, some of these are poor body image, perfectionism, low self-esteem, or a history of trauma and abuse. Some or all of these signs can result in self harm, but do not always result in self-harm.

Self-harm often results in a great amount of shame for these individuals. Because of this, they are very secretive about their behavior and are not prone to seek out help. Therefore, it is important to recognize some of the signs of self-injury.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the signs to look for are:


-Fresh wounds of any kind, even those which seem small

-Excessive rubbing of an area, which can create a burn

-Always having sharp objects around

-Wearing clothing that fully covers their body, even in hot weather.

-Difficult behavior

-Difficulty in relating to others

-Emotional instability


-Low-self esteem

-A sense of hopelessness

By becoming more aware of the signs to look for in those who self-injure, we can slowly make strides to help those who are in need of help. If you or anyone you care about is engaging in self harming behaviors, there is hope! eSupport counselors can help by introducing new strategies for coping with life’s stress and pain. Remember, you are the only U in the Universe! Take care of yourself and reach out to us for support! We would love to support you!

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