Cut it Out: Self-Injury Awareness

Self-Injury Awareness MonthSelf-injury is the deliberate infliction of damage to your own body, and includes cutting, burning, hair pulling, and other forms of injury.

Experts estimate that about 4 percent of the population practices self-injury, almost equally divided between male and female. According to researchers, recent studies of high school and college students put the number at approximately one in five.

While cutting can look like attempted suicide, it is most often not the intent, rather an unhealthy way to deal with emotional stress.  Most people who self-harm do it as a way to regulate mood, escape feelings, cope with stress, express pain, or punish themselves.  People who hurt themselves in this way may be motivated by a need to distract themselves from inner turmoil, or to quickly release anxiety that builds due to an inability to express intense emotions.

If you self-injure:

Connect with others who will work to understand and support you.  Contact a friend, family member, support group, religious leader, school official, or doctor who can help you.

Find out what triggers you to injure and find ways to avoid this, soothe yourself, and make a plan to support yourself next time  you feel the urge.

Avoid alcohol and drugs which impair your judgment and increase risk.

If you know someone who self-injures:

Let them know you care no matter what!

Try not to judge. This can increase stress, therefore, increasing risk of further injury.

Learn more to understand this behavior so you can calmly support and discourage this behavior.

Share coping strategies.  Let them know how you deal with your stress in a healthy way.

Find Support.  Always seek professional help to assist.

March is Self-Injury Awareness Month. Please join the FLVS School Counselors for an important informational webinar on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 6pm ET at www.tinyurl.com/FLVSCounselors  as we present “Break the Silence: Self Injury Awareness.” Our goal is to raise awareness about self-harm and self-injury. We will be breaking down the common stereotypes surrounding self-harm and sharing information about prevention and resources to help those struggling with self-injury.

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Resources:

Psychology Today
Mayo Clinic
About Self-Injury. S.A.F.E. (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives.  Conterio, Karen and Wendy Lader.


Amy LaGrastaAmy LaGrasta, School Counseling Manager, helps students make informed decisions about courses, career and college options, and the study habits needed for online success. Prior to joining FLVS, she served as the guidance director at Estero High School in Lee County, FL where she was honored with the Teacher of Distinction award.



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