March is Self-Harm Awareness Month. Christy Beck from Beck Psychotherapy in State College discusess what self-harm is, some examples, and how you can help someone who self-harms.

Definition of Self-Harm

  • Any deliberate, non-suicidal behavior that inflicts harm on your body and is aimed at relieving emotional distress.

Examples of Self-Harm

  • Cutting
  • Scratching
  • Burning
  • Punching self
  • Punching walls
  • Hair-pulling
  • Eyelash pulling

Who Self-Harms

  • Girls
  • Boys
  • Women
  • Men
  • Across all ages and cultures

Why people Self-Harm

  • A coping skill to relieve emotional distress
  • Feeling physical pain is more bearable for them then emotional pain
  • Can bring one out of a dissociative state
  • Often brings relief, but this is temporary – the underlying issues remain

Signs of Self-Harm

  • Cuts, scratches, burns on arms, legs and/or stomach
  • Wearing long-sleeves or pants in the summer
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Unexplained and/or frequent injuries
  • People who self-harm often go to great lengths to hide their injuries

Myths about Self-Harm

  • Only teenage girls self-injure
  • Self-harm is attention seeking
  • Self-harm is a suicide attempt
  • Self-injury is something people outgrow

How to help someone who Self-Harms

  • Remain calm and nonjudgmental
  • Validate their feelings (don’t dismiss them as being attention-seeking)
  • Help them find the help they need:
  • Psychotherapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) – teaches emotional regulation
  • Alternative coping skills

Some information taken from LifeSIGNS.

Beck Psychotherapy is located at 103 East Beaver Ave. Suite #2 in State College, and you can call them at (814) 409-7744. Calls are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.