4. Is Self-harm and Suicide Linked?

Posted on: 05 September, 2018 by

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The number of individuals self-harming has rapidly increased in recent years. A recent study by The Children’s Society reported that one in four 14-year-old girls in the UK are self-harming. This statistic is alarming. However, we are investigating a possible link between self-harm and suicide and this blog will examine if there are ties between the two and ask the question: What can be done to prevent self-harm?

What Is Self-harm?

An accurate description of self-harm can be found on the reachout.com website: “Self-harm (also known as self injury) is when you inflict physical harm on yourself, usually in secret and often without anyone else knowing”. People self-harm for a number of reasons. The fact that it is an intentional physical act of injury that one inflicts on oneself does not necessarily mean that it is an attempt to commit suicide. Generally, people self-harm as a way of coping with emotional distress. It provides a feeling of being in control of the difficulties they may be experiencing. Self-harm in teens can be a sign that they are being bullied or having problems with their families or friends. Although self-harm is a private act, it could signal that the individual actually wants help.

Is Self-harm a Symptom of Depression?

The issue of self-harm and depression can tie in with suicide. A self-harming individual may be suffering from a mental illness. Depression is a common mental illness and, as previous studies have shown, there is a link between depression and suicide. If you know someone is self-harming and also suffering from depression, it is important that you urge them to get help and support as they may be having suicidal thoughts.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Self-harm?

Parent taking knife from child

If you are an individual who is self-harming, there are ways to stop. The most important thing is to confide in someone. Choose someone that you trust who will offer the help and support you need. You can also look online for support forums or helpline numbers that can offer advice. It is important that you get help to figure out and understand what makes you self-harm. You can then take steps to address and tackle the issue. Similarly, if you know or suspect that someone is self-harming, be there to offer help and support. Assist them in accessing help. It is important to remember that while self-harm may not be directly linked to suicide, there is a danger that the act of self-harm, if left untreated, could develop into something much worse.