Lifeline Connections

Self-injury Awareness: Ways You Can Help Those Who Struggle

What Is Self-Injury?

Those who do not self-harm might have a difficult time understanding why others might. Self-injury is usually a sign of internal emotional distress, and often the individual cannot find a way to release their emotional distress in any other way. Like with many other mental health illnesses, it is important to catch a disorder early. Self-injury cases usually begin during childhood or teenage years. People who self-injure often have suffered from some form of abuse in a close relationship and use self-injury as a way to combat emotional numbness, relieve their distress, or to punish themselves.

Self-injury is most commonly associated with Borderline Personality Disorder; however, self-injury can also occur in concurrence with depression, anxiety, eating disorder, or substance use disorder. Sometimes treatment comes with medication to also treat these underlying issues. Self-injury is considered separate from suicide and is considered a non-suicidal act, because the intentions behind self-injury and suicide are different.

Showing Support

When approaching someone who is struggling with self-harm, it is important be calm and accepting, even though you do not support their behavior. Support is integral throughout the process of seeking treatment. It is important to not use threats to get the individual to stop, show shock or disgust when discussing the matter, or allowing the person to talk about the self-injury in too much detail, because it can be triggering. Instead, not showing panic and understanding that this is a coping mechanism, will allow you to provide adequate support until finding professional help.

Getting Help and Treatment

If someone is struggling with self-harm, there are a lot of ways to get help. There are three different opportunities for therapy including Dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family therapy. All of these options can help you get to root of the issue and develop better coping methods for your distress.

If you or someone you know is struggling with wanting to harm themselves, please feel free to contact the professional team at Lifeline Connections for help! Don’t be afraid to get help, there are people out there who want to help and you can find the appropriate treatment for yourself. Getting yourself help, whether it is through self-help or by reaching out to professionals is an important part of recognizing that you are struggling and is a good step forward to get the help that you need. You can visit or call 360.397.8246 for more information.


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