Self-injury, also called self-harm and self-abuse, refers to deliberate acts that cause harm to one’s body, mind and spirit. Examples include cutting the skin with razor blades or pieces of glass; burning and hitting oneself; scratching or picking scabs or preventing wounds from healing; hair pulling; and inserting objects into one’s body. Cutting is the most common form of self-injury among today’s youth.
In a broader sense, behaviours such as smoking, alcohol and drug addiction, bingeing on food and staying in an abusive relationship can also be considered forms of self-harming.
People who self-injure may not be trying to kill themselves. Usually, they are not trying to end all feeling; they are trying to feel better.
Youth and Self-Injury
People cope with difficult thoughts, feelings, or situations in different ways. Some people cope by injuring themselves on purpose—and it may be the only way for them to feel better. Self-injury may seem frightening, but it’s important to look beyond the injuries and see what’s really going on.