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Debunking the Myths of Self-Harm Temple University Office of Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Russell Conwell Learning Center.

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Presentation on theme: "Debunking the Myths of Self-Harm Temple University Office of Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Russell Conwell Learning Center."— Presentation transcript:

1 Debunking the Myths of Self-Harm Temple University Office of Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Russell Conwell Learning Center

2 Myths About People Who Self- Harm People who self-injure don't feel pain “People who self-injure don't care about themselves or others ” Nobody can understand / only someone who self-injures can understand Self-injury is a ‘suicide attempt' Self-injury is attention seeking Only women self-injure But it's mostly a teenage white girl thing, yeah? Self-injury is a mental disorder Self-injury is ‘cutting' People who self-injure are violent -Life signs

3 What is Self-Harm? The act of deliberately harming ones self physically or mentally. Self harm is also known as self-injury and self mutilation (Tracy). While the physical effects of self-injury might be obvious and harmful, the psychological effects of self-mutilation are no less damaging (Tracy).

4 Why do people engage in Self-Harm? To manage emotions The belief that punishment is deserved Low self-esteem Poor body image Self-hatred Post-traumatic stress disorder Strong feelings of anxiety or depression Emotional numbness (feeling physical pain is ‘better’ than feeling nothing) A response to physical, sexual or emotional abuse. A way of coping with difficult emotions Not just “attention seeking”, although people do use it as a way of letting others know they aren’t coping. Some people do not know how to express their feelings and emotions so they rely on self harm as a way to express their complicated or hidden feelings. Communicating a need for some support (cry for help). Getting an immediate sense of relief

5 Examples Direct self harm- involves Cutting,Drinking, Smoking, Eating disorders, Indirect self-harm involves inflicting physical injury in a more roundabout way, such as neglecting to manage an illness or failing to seek help for a disorder or alcoholism. -better health channel

6 Physical The physical effects of self-harm can be minor, such as a scratch or small bruise or, in rare cases, life-threatening. No matter how severe though, all physical effects of self-injury indicate the unmanageable pain the person is in and the severity of the injury does not indicate the severity of the pain. Wounds or scars Infection (Picking at skin or re-opening wounds/scabs) Nerve damage Broken bones Cutting - involves cutting your body with a sharp object, such as earrings, knives, pins, needles, razorblades or even fingernails. Hair loss or bald spots- Trichotillomania is he practice of ripping out one's hair Injury caused by overdose or poisoning drinking harmful substances Bruises- Hitting - actually using an object to cause bruises. Self-strangulation - choking yourself with a scarf or rope Burn Marks-Friction burning – rubbing your skin until burn-like marks appear; usually, an object like a pencil eraser is rubbed harshly on the skin| Branding – burning your skin with a hot object, like an iron or a cigarette. Psychological Just because you can't see the harmful psychological effects of self-mutilation doesn't mean they aren't happening. Not only do strong emotions tend to drive people to self-harm, the self-harm itself, in turn, may cause strong emotional reactions. And, unfortunately, self-harm is a temporary measure that not only creates problems but also doesn't solve the problems that drove the person to self-harm in the first place. irritability A desire to be alone in order to self-harm or to hide the evidence of self- harm. This often leads to feelings of loneliness. Shame/ guilt for engaging in self harm The stress and difficulty of having to lie to those around you about the self-injury Using self-injury to deal with any emotional stress instead of building positive coping techniques An overwhelming desire to self-injure to the point where it feels like you can no longer control the behavior Low self-esteem and self-hatred Depression -Healthy Place Americas Mental Health Channel

7 Dangers Self-injurers often become desperate about their lack of self- control and the addictive-like nature of their acts, which may lead them to true suicide attempts. The self-injury behaviors may also cause more harm than intended, which could result in medical complications or death. Eating disorders and alcohol or substance abuse intensify the threats to the individual’s overall health and quality of life. -Mental Health America

8 Who engages in self-harm? 17 percent of college students 20 percent of women 14 percent of men - - report that they have cut, burned, carved or harmed themselves in other ways. Fewer than 7 percent of the students studied had ever sought medical help for their self-inflicted physical injuries -Cornell University

9 Truth Although self-harm and cutting can give you temporary relief, it comes at a cost. In the long term, it causes far more problems than it solves. The relief is short lived, and is quickly followed by other feelings like shame and guilt. Meanwhile, it keeps you from learning more effective strategies for feeling better. Keeping the secret from friends and family members is difficult and lonely. You can hurt yourself badly, even if you don’t mean to. It’s easy to misjudge the depth of a cut or end up with an infected wound. If you don’t learn other ways to deal with emotional pain, it puts you at risk for bigger problems down the line, including major depression, drug and alcohol addiction, and suicide. Self-harm can become addictive. It may start off as an impulse or something you do to feel more in control, but soon it feels like the cutting or self-harming is controlling you. It often turns into a compulsive behavior that seems impossible to stop. The bottom line: self-harm and cutting don’t help you with the issues that made you want to hurt yourself in the first place. HelpGuide

10 Treatmen t psychological intervention or counselling psychiatric treatment learning other forms of effective coping techniques understanding and support from family members, friends and doctors medical treatment for the physical injuries -Better health channel

11 Other Coping Methods regular exercise stress management counselling forms of personal expression, such as writing or painting relaxation therapy yoga and meditation.

12 How To Help? If you witness a loved one self-harming, try hard to control your emotional response. Yelling, crying or becoming hysterical will only make your loved one more stressed, which can reinforce their self-harming behavior. Try to act in a neutral way. If necessary, take them to a more private place. Offer options but don’t tell him what he has to do or should do. If he is using self-injury as a way to have some control, it won’t help if you try to take control of the situation. Helping your friend see ways to get help – like talking to a parent, teacher, school counselor or mental health professional- may be the best thing you can do for him. Remember you’re not responsible for ending the self-abuse. You can’t make your friend stop hurting himself or get help from a professional. The only sure thing you can do is keep being a good friend. -Better Health Channel & Mental Health America

13 How to help myself Know you are not alone. Because so many people are self-injurers, it’s likely that there are people around who can understand and can help. Your school’s counseling center Know you can get better. This is a difficult time in your life. However, with help, you can get to the point where you don’t hurt yourself anymore.

14 The End

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