Self-harm involves causing physical harm to one’s body without the intention of dying. This behavior is often referred to non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Common forms of self-harm behaviors include cutting or scratching the skin, burning, or hitting and bruising one’s body.

There are several “myths” or misconceptions about self-harm behavior. Some assume that individuals who harm themselves do so for attention or as a result of peer pressure; this is very rarely the case. In fact, individuals who self-harm often do so privately and attempt to hide their wounds. Research has found that individuals engage in self-harm for several reasons, including management of intense emotions, feeling “real” in the midst of dissociation or disconnection from themselves or others, and self-punishment.

If an individual is harming themselves, they need help managing the emotional experience that causes self-harm. Among the many reasons that self-harm must be taken seriously is the fact that individuals who self-harm are at a heightened risk for suicide.

Self-harm-oriented services at BCSC: