September 4


When is Self Harm Awareness Month? Find out now!

By Joshua Turner

September 4, 2023

Self-harm is a serious issue that affects many people, but it is often misunderstood. It is a coping mechanism that some people use to deal with emotional pain. It can be challenging to understand why someone would hurt themselves, but it is vital to remember that it is not a choice but a symptom of an underlying issue.

Self-harm awareness month is an annual event that takes place in March. This month’s goal is to raise awareness about it and reduce the stigma.

During this month, many organizations and individuals work to educate others about it and to provide resources for those who may be struggling. It should not be ignored or dismissed but requires understanding and support.

Key Takeaways

Understanding Self-Harm

Defining Self-Harm

Self-harm is an intentional and self-inflicted behavior that causes physical harm to oneself. It is often a coping mechanism for individuals who are experiencing intense emotional pain and cannot find a way to express or manage their emotions. It can take many forms, including cutting, burning, punching, etc.

Common Behaviors

Some common behaviors associated with self-injury include cutting, burning, hitting oneself, pulling hair, and scratching. It is not limited to these behaviors, and individuals may engage in other forms of hurting themselves physically.


The act can be performed using various methods, including sharp objects, burning, hitting oneself, and scratching. It is important to note that it is not limited to physical harm; individuals may also engage in it through substance abuse, risky behaviors, and other harmful activities.

Who is at Risk


Adolescents are a high-risk group for this behavior. The pressures of adolescence, such as academic stress, peer pressure, and hormonal changes, can lead to overwhelming emotions and a sense of hopelessness.

Adolescents who experience mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, are at an even higher risk of engaging in self-harm behavior. Parents, teachers, and caregivers should be aware of the warning signs and seek help for adolescents who may be struggling.


Adults who have experienced trauma, such as abuse or neglect, may turn to self-harm as a coping mechanism. Those who struggle with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, are also at risk for engaging in self-injury.

Adults must seek help from mental health professionals and develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage their emotions.

Mental Health and Self-Harm


Depression is a mental illness that affects millions of people worldwide. It is often characterized by sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in once-enjoyable activities.

Individuals with depression may turn to self-harm to cope with their emotions. They may feel it is the only way to release their pain and relieve their suffering.


People with anxiety may experience intense fear, worry, and panic. They may turn to hurting themselves to cope with these overwhelming emotions. It can temporarily relieve anxiety, but seeking professional help to address the underlying issues is critical.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are mental illnesses characterized by abnormal eating habits. They can lead to physical and emotional health problems, including self-injury.

People with eating disorders may resort to the behavior to cope with the intense emotions that come with these illnesses.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that is characterized by intense and unstable emotions, impulsive behavior, and a distorted sense of self. People with BPD may turn to self-injury as a way to cope with their intense emotions and feelings of emptiness.

Emotions and Self-Harm


Pain is a complex emotion that can drive individuals to hurt themselves. Some people use it as a way to distract themselves from physical pain or to release emotional pain. Individuals may also use it to feel something other than physical or emotional pain.

Guilt and Shame

Guilt and shame can be overwhelming emotions. Individuals may feel guilty or ashamed about past actions or behaviors, leading to negative self-talk and self-blame. Self-harm may be used as a way to punish oneself for perceived wrongdoings.

Anger and Frustration

Anger and frustration can be difficult to manage, and individuals may inflict pain on themselves to release these feelings. It may be used as a way to regain control or to express anger physically.


Individuals may hurt themselves to deal with feelings of isolation and disconnection from others. It may also be used to feel something, even if it is pain.

Self-Harm as a Coping Mechanism

Understanding the Role of Endorphins

Self-harm releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers that can provide a sense of relief and calmness. However, the relief is only temporary, and the long-term effects can be harmful.

Healthy Coping Skills

Some healthy coping skills include deep breathing, mindfulness, exercise, and talking to a trusted friend or therapist. Finding what works for you may take time, but it is worth the effort to develop healthy coping skills that can provide long-term relief.

Warning Signs and Prevention

Recognizing the Warning Signs

Some common warning signs may indicate someone is struggling with the behavior. These can include:

  • Unexplained injuries or scars
  • Wearing long sleeves or pants, even in warm weather
  • Avoiding social situations or activities, they used to enjoy
  • Changes in mood, such as increased irritability or withdrawal
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness

If you notice any warning signs in yourself or someone else, it’s critical to seek help.

Suicide Risk and Prevention

Self-harm can be a sign of suicidal thoughts or behavior. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, take action. Some steps you can take include:

  • Reaching out to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional
  • Seeking emergency help by calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency room
  • Removing any objects that could be used for self-injury, such as sharp objects or medications
  • Creating a safety plan for when suicidal thoughts or urges arise


Some strategies that may be helpful include:

  • Developing healthy coping mechanisms, such as exercise, meditation, or talking to a trusted friend or therapist
  • Building a support system of people who can provide emotional support and encouragement
  • Seeking professional help, such as therapy or medication
  • Educating yourself and others about it and suicide prevention

Treatment and Support


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common therapy that can help individuals identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to self-violence. Other types of therapy, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and psychodynamic therapy, may also be helpful.

Role of Medication

While medication is not typically used as the primary treatment for the behavior, antidepressants may be prescribed to individuals struggling with depression or anxiety. It is important to note that medication should always be used in conjunction with therapy and under the guidance of a doctor or mental health professional.

Support from Friends and Family

Friends and family members can offer emotional support and encouragement and help individuals find and access appropriate treatment options. However, it is important to remember that support from loved ones should never replace professional treatment.

Self-Harm Awareness Month

Purpose and Activities

Self-Harm Awareness Month is observed every March to raise awareness about it and support those struggling with it. The purpose of this month is to break the stigma surrounding it and promote mental health awareness.

During this month, various activities are organized to educate people about the causes and effects of the unhealthy coping mechanism. Support groups, workshops, and counseling sessions are also held to assist those who need it. The goal is to encourage people to seek help and support and to let them know they are not alone.

Self-Injury Awareness Day

Self-Injury Awareness Day is observed on March 1st every year and is part of Self-Harm Awareness Month. This day is dedicated to raising awareness about self-injury and reducing its stigma.

On this day, people are encouraged to wear orange ribbons to show their support for those who struggle with it. Various events are organized to provide education and support to those needing it. The goal is to promote understanding and compassion for those who struggle with self-injury and encourage people to seek help if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of Self Harm Awareness Month?

It is a time to raise awareness about unhealthy behavior and promote understanding and support for those who struggle with it. The goal is to reduce the stigma surrounding it and encourage individuals to seek help.

How can I get involved in Self Harm Awareness Month?

You can get involved by participating in events or campaigns that raise awareness about it. You can also donate to organizations that support individuals who struggle with it.

What resources are available for those struggling with self harm?

Many resources are available, including hotlines, support groups, and therapy. Reaching out for help if you’re struggling with it is vital.

What are some common misconceptions about self harm?

Some common misconceptions include that it’s attention-seeking behavior or a suicide attempt. In reality, it is often a coping mechanism for dealing with emotional pain.

What are some ways to support someone who is struggling with self harm?

Some ways to support someone include listening without judgment, offering emotional support, and encouraging them to seek professional help. It’s important to remember that recovery is a journey that may take time.

How can we continue to raise awareness and support beyond Self Harm Awareness Month?

We can continue to raise awareness and support beyond Self Harm Awareness Month by promoting understanding and empathy for those who struggle with it. We can also advocate for mental health resources and support for individuals.

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