Most people who self-injure are not trying to get attention as most will try to keep what they are doing secret. Many people who self-harm suffer from anxiety, depression, or a previous trauma and use self injury to cope. The severity of wounds has very little to do with how much someone is suffering. Don't assume that because the wounds or injuries are minor, there's nothing to worry about.
Signs of Cutting and Self-harm
- Cutting or severely scratching your skin
- Burning or scalding yourself
- Hitting yourself or banging your head
- Punching things or throwing your body against walls and hard objects
- Sticking objects into your skin
- Intentionally preventing wounds from healing
- Swallowing poisonous substances or inappropriate objects
Warning Signs a Person is Cutting or Self-injuring
- Unexplained wounds or scars from cuts, bruises, or burns, usually on the wrists, arms, thighs, or chest
- Blood stains on clothing, towels, or bedding; blood-soaked tissues
- Sharp objects or cutting instruments, such as razors, knives, needles, glass shards, or bottle caps, in the person's belongings
- Frequent 'accidents.' Someone who self-harms may claim to be clumsy or have many mishaps, in order to explain away injuries
- Covering up. A person who self-injures may insist on wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather
- Needing to be alone for long periods of time, especially in the bedroom or bathroom.
- Isolation and irritability.
If people who self harm or cut understanding why they are carrying out these actions, it can be a vital first step towards their recovery. As self-harm is most often a way of dealing with emotional pain, it is important to identify what feelings make them want to cut or hurt themselves e.g. is it sadness, anger, shame, loneliness, guilt or emptiness? Once the feelings that trigger the need to self-injure are recognised, individuals can start developing healthier alternatives.