Take Self-Harm Seriously
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Health and Wellness

Self-Harm Needs To Be Taken Seriously

We need to start listening.

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Self-Harm Needs To Be Taken Seriously
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"It's just for attention."

"If she really wanted to die, she'd cut deeper."

"It's just a phase."

Believe it or not, I've heard people say all of the above statements. I urge you to stop saying things like this. Self-harm needs to be taken seriously.

Self-harm is very misunderstood by the public. I see why a lot of people don't take self-harm seriously. Social media websites like Tumblr are full of images that romanticize cutting and other forms of self-injury. People used to think that cutting was a manifestation of emo culture.

Self-harm is not romantic. Self-harm is a sign of intense emotional and mental pain. Sometimes it is a way to cope with trauma.

It doesn't matter why someone is self-harming. Even the people who romanticize it on Tumblr are expressing their pain in some way. We have to take it seriously.

We need to start listening.

According to MedlinePlus, about 1 in 100 people hurts himself or herself on purpose. That's about 1% of the population. Self-harm is more common in teenagers and young adults. You may not even know that someone self-harms because many people go to great lengths to cover it up.

I have struggled with self-harm in the past. I have struggled with mental health problems for a lot of my life. Even when I was younger I scratched myself when I was in distress. During my teenage years, I started cutting. I did it because it was a way for me to let out self-hatred and intense feelings.

Usually, it starts with one cut. You promise you won't do it again, but you start using it as a coping mechanism. One turns to too many. Self-harm can become a way to deal with problems for some people. It can be very dangerous. There's always the risk of causing permanent damage. I have scars that will probably last forever.

If you notice that one of your friends is harming themselves, do not ignore it. Do not assume that it is a phase. Do not think they are doing it for attention. Listen. Be there.

Many of the tips that Befrienders, a volunteer helpline, gives revolve around a main idea: Do not make someone who is self-harming feel guilty or ashamed about what they are doing.

Many people who self-harm are not suicidal. However, it is important to recognize that self-harm is dangerous and needs to be taken seriously.

Also recognize, though, that it is difficult for someone to stop self-harming. You are not a professional, so refer them to someone who can help them get better, like a therapist. While they are on the journey of recovery, be a friend. It makes a difference.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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