Self Harm Awareness


Written in collaboration with:
TJ Singh - KidsFirst Clinical Therapist


About 17% of all people will self-harm during their lifetime.


The average age of the first incident of self-harm is 13.


45% of people use cutting as their method of self-injury.


About 50% of people seek help for their self-harm but only from friends instead of professionals.


Self-harm occurs in many forms, including cutting, scratching, punching, and ingestion of chemicals. Those who self-harm do so for a variety of reasons. Some of them include coping with fear, stress, anxiety, or inducing positive feelings.

People who self-injure may try to hide their injuries. Their clothing may not fit the season. Other signs of self-harm may include:

  • unexplained cuts, burns, or bruises
  • inability to handle emotions
  • avoiding relationships
  • problems with relationships
  • issues at work, home, or school
  • poor self-esteem


When an individual turns to self-harming behaviors, often it is due to experiencing strong emotional pain that feels overwhelming. There is a desire to either release or distract from the emotional pain that overwhelms the individual. This high level of emotional pain often leads to physical self-harm.

There are two types of self-harming behaviors. Both are considered to be strong risk factors and should be taken seriously and may need immediate intervention depending on severity.

  • Suicidal self-harm with the intention of ending their life, suicidal ideation, or suicidal behaviors.
  • Non-suicidal self-harm behaviors focusing on releasing, distracting, and dealing with strong emotional pain through physical self-harm.


There are some harm minimization techniques that do help some people, especially as short-term solutions.

Try these interventions/methods to help reduce self-harm behaviors:

  • Dipping your hands/arm in Ice as this can duplicate the feeling of self-harming without fully engaging in self-harming behaviors such as cutting.
  • Snapping rubber bands on your wrist as a way to minimize the urge to engage in self-harm behaviors
  • Eating sour and/or spicy food that creates that feeling of pain that one may get from engaging in self-harm behaviors.


It is important to reach out to a professional to discuss long-term solutions that focus on reducing and stopping self-harming behaviors completely. Contact the KidsFirst Team or submit a request for services if you are experiencing or know of an individual suffering from self-harm.

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