It is behaviour which is carried out deliberately with the intention to cause harm, or cause pain or cause injury to self. This behaviour can be occasional, frequent, compulsive or repetitive.
It is different from acts which belong to a wider category of behaviours which are self-destructive or which are harmful to self (poor eating, binge-drinking) and does not include eating disorders.
Self-harm is increasing found among young people- it can begin at Primary School age and it can continue well into adulthood and is often a cause of concern for families.
Self-harm is a way for the person to cope with difficult feelings.
It gives the individual a situation wheres/he is in control and provides them with a way of getting relief. Self-harm is a way for the person to cope with difficult feelings.
It is sometimes viewed as private and shameful but it truth hurts no one else and it is reported to improve mood, release tension and decrease emotional pain. The most common reported forms of self-harm are cutting and paracetamol overdose but this may be overlooking the effects of punching walls and doors which is often done by young males without being properly recognised as self-harm.
It is estimated that less than 15% of those who self-harm end-up in hospital but in spite of this small proportion it remains one of the most common reasons for adolescents presenting at hospitals. In fact about 13% of young people report that they have self-harmed at some point.