Misconception about self-harm: #1

#1: Everyone who self-harms is suicidal.

People often associate self harm with attempted suicide, or a suicidal state-of-mind, however this is rarely the case. People suffering emotional distress may feel suicidal, but turning to self- harm is a coping mechanism and its function is predominantly to prevent suicide, rather than being a suicide attempt.  Self-harm is seen as an outlet

One of the most common misconceptions is that self-injury is the same thing as suicide. Suicide is the intentional act of killing one’s self. Suicide is a purposeful end to one’s life, while self-injury is most typically performed as an act of self-preservation, an act to sustain life. In basic terms, self-injury is a method of coping.

Self-injury generally provides temporary relief to intense emotional pain. Suicide is obviously a permanent solution to emotional and/or physical suffering. The damage done from self-injurious behaviors typically does not require medical intervention and is rarely lethal. Most of the people who intentionally hurt themselves never seek medical treatment and keep their injuries hidden. Those who attempt suicide often need medical intervention and the results of the suicide attempt are intended to be lethal.

Some individuals that self harm may go on to complete a suicide attempt. It is unlikely however that self harm is the cause of such suicidal feelings. It is far more likely to be due to the reasons triggering the self harm, such as abuse, bullying, financial worries etc. rather than an extension of the self harm itself

According to the National Self-Harm Network: A survey of 758 respondents carried out by NSHN showed that only 4% of these individuals stated that it was suicidal feelings that led to any of their individual incidents of self harm (Figures correct to August 2009). The feelings most often reported were self hatred, anger, frustration, worthlessness.

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