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What You Should Know About Self-injury Awareness Day

What You Should Know About Self-injury Awareness Day

12:53 25th February 2018 | Depression & Psychosis

1st March SIAD Self Injury Self Harm Life Style Behaviour Addictions Disorders Depression Psychosis

There is a reason this day exists and it is important to know why.


The Date

 The 1st of March is Self-injury Awareness Day (SIAD) and it is observed worldwide, every year. On Self-injury Awareness Day (SIAD) people are encouraged to:

  • Open up about their self-harming behaviour
  • Talk about how they try to deal with it.


Those supporting the cause can wear an orange ribbon.


The Objective

There is a stigma attached to self-injury that this day hopes to address. So, annually on the 1st of March, people join efforts all around the world to:

  • Work on removing this stigma
  • Encourage those who self-harm to talk about it
  • Make more people aware of signs that could indicate self-harm tendencies or occurrences


What is Self-injury or Self-harm?

To self-harm is to hurt or injure oneself deliberately (usually without suicidal intentions) and there is usually a reason behind it.

Harm is inflicted in the form of intentional body tissue damage to, for example, the wrists, arms, thighs and stomach, by:

  • Breaking bones
  • Burning one’s skin
  • Scratching one’s skin
  • Cutting with sharp instruments
  • Banging limbs on hards surfaces


The aim of awareness is to determine and understand the reasons for self-injury and to do something about it.


Why Do People Self-harm?

Many reasons have been identified as the cause of self-harm and most of them are connected to unhappy emotions and thoughts. It has been described as a 'physical expression of emotional distress' which could be an indication of a psychological or psychiatric disorder.


Groups thought to be most vulnerable to self-harm include:

  • Adolescents or young adults
  • Emotionally, physically or sexually abused individuals
  • Those who suffer from depression, eating disorders, and/or substance-abuse


Trying to Understand Self-injury

Unfair and ungrounded judgement is often caused by lack of understanding. When we cannot empathise with or understand the emotions and behaviours of others we tend to ignore, fear or judge them. Unfortunately it is human nature to react this way, but by becoming more aware we can change this.


The challenge lies in opening ourselves up to what others perceive as normal and finding a way to relate.


Consider the fact that different people do different things to express or deal with many different types of emotions. Some abuse alcohol or drugs; others turn to food for comfort; many even engage in acts of a sexual nature. Lifestyle behaviours can quickly turn into addictions and disorders when not addressed, some with more dangerous consequences than other.


How Can You Help

It is never too late to care, whether you get involved at the prevention or intervention stage. We have to work together to remove the stigma attached to self-harm AND the stigma attached to the causes, whether it is depression, psychosis or psychotic depression.


Everyone – including parents, family members, educators and healthcare professionals – needs to familiarise themselves with the signs of self-harm in order to recognise them and determine a cause of action to assist in the appropriate way.


Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Scars
  • Bruises
  • Scratches
  • Fresh cuts
  • Other wounds
  • Ensuring easy access to sharp objects
  • Issues with interpersonal relationships
  • Extreme rubbing of an area to create a burn
  • Long sleeves or long pants worn even in hot weather
  • Expressing feelings of helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Unstable, impulsive and/or unpredictable behaviours and emotions
  • Personal identity issues (questioning reason for existence and purpose of life)


All attempts at helping should be grounded in NON-JUDGEMENTAL SUPPORT which includes helping affected individuals address and deal with the underlying causes of the self-injury.






Please don’t hesitate to get in touch for guidance and advice.


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