Find Hope on Self-Injury Awareness Day

This Friday, March 1 is National Self-Injury Awareness Day (SIAD) – a day dedicated to education and awareness surrounding those who self-harm or self-mutilate. All over the country, orange ribbons will be worn to represent hope for this problem riddled with stigma.

To self-injure means to intentionally and voluntarily harming oneself by burning, cutting, poisoning, hair-pulling or bruising oneself, among other harmful ways, or even picking at wounds with the intention to cause harm or pain. Self-injury behavior can persist and worsen over long periods of time.

Because so many people who self-harm themselves go untreated or unspoken, due to the shame, guilt and embarrassment surrounding this condition, we don’t know exact numbers – but according to Mental Health America, nearly two million people in the U.S. self-injure.

Many of those who self-inflict harm or pain are trying to escape from and cope with emotional issues buried underneath the surface. Anxiety, stress, depression, pressure, trauma and self-hatred are all causes of self-injury. Warning signs of self-injury include unexplained cuts, scratches, bruises or other signs of physical harm, self-criticism, restlessness, increased substance use and sudden behavior/mood changes.

SIAD is a time when awareness organizations increase their outreach efforts with community events or fundraisers. Others wear their orange ribbons in support, write “LOVE” on their bodies – and some may even choose to open up about their own self-injury. LifeSIGNS says, “By raising awareness our intention is to change how people react to self-injury, by educating them about the truths and by banishing the myths. We intend for people, even if they are unable to fully understand self-injury, to at least be able to empathise with people who hurt themselves in order to cope with emotional distress.

Self-injury can be addicting, but help and hope are available now.

One thought on “Find Hope on Self-Injury Awareness Day

  1. Dear Micheal, thank you so much for all the good work you do in helping others to understand this very traumatic illness. My youngest son had problems with this in the past. But we were able to get help and hope for him from a hospital (Alexian Brothers) in Chicago, Illinois. He has not needed to do this in 4 years. I am so thankful and so proud of him. I feel so blessed that there is hope for others through programs such as this. God Bless you.

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