Self Harm

Very often this type of behaviour is kept secret by the people doing it. The urge to self harm is not an uncommon event, especially in young adults and/or adolescents. Many can overcome it with treatments which we will look at below.

It means hurting yourself on purpose. One common method is cutting yourself with a sharp object such as knife/glass, but any time someone deliberately hurts themselves is classified as self-harm. There are some that feel an impulse to burn themselves, pull out their hair or pick at wounds to prevent healing. Extreme injuries can result in people actually breaking their bones.

Hurting yourself ,or even thinking about hurting yourself ,is a sign of some deep emotional distress. These uncomfortable emotions may grow more intense if a person continues to use self-harm as a coping mechanism.

Self-harm is not a mental illness, but a behavior that indicates a lack of coping skills in some way. Several illnesses are associated with self harm, including borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, anxiety or posttraumatic distress disorder.

Self-harm occurs most often during the teenage and young adult years, though it can also happen later in life and can happen to anyone. Those at the most risk are people who have experienced trauma, neglect or abuse. For instance, if a person grew up with an unstable family background, it might have become a coping mechanism. If a person binge drinks or does drugs, he is also at greater risk of self-injury, because alcohol and drugs lower self-control.

I Hide All My Scars with an “I’m Fine”


  • Scars
  • Fresh cuts, scratches, bruises or other wounds
  • Excessive rubbing of an area to create a burn
  • Keeping sharp objects on hand
  • Wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather
  • Difficulties in interpersonal relationships
  • Persistent questions about personal identity, such as “Who am I?” “What am I doing here?”
  • Behavioral and emotional instability, impulsivity and unpredictability
  • Statements of helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness

Understanding Self Harm and Treatments Available

There are some very effective treatments for self-harm that can allow a person to feel in control of their emotional state again. Psychotherapy is important to any treatment plan. Self-harm may feel necessary to manage emotions, so a person will need to learn new coping mechanisms to cope with their distress.

The first step in getting help is talking to a trusted adult, friend or medical professional who is familiar with the subject.

Depending on any underlying illness that a person may have, a Doctor might prescribe medication to help with difficult emotions. For someone with depression, for instance, an antidepressant may lessen the harmful urges.

A doctor will also recommend therapy to help a person learn new behaviours in relation to the self harming, if self-injury has become a habit. Several different kinds of therapy can help, depending on the diagnosis of your Doctor.

  • Psychodynamic therapy focuses on exploring past experiences and your emotional state .
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on recognizing negative thought patterns and increasing coping skills to alleviate any emotional distress that you might have.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy can help a person learn positive coping methods. The term “dialectical” comes from the idea that bringing together two opposites in therapy – acceptance and change – brings better results than either one alone

Emergency Contact Numbers

Open Arms Kerry 087 0907600

Pieta House Kerry(066) 7163660

The Samaritans(353) 16710071

Mental Health Ireland(01) 2841166


Belong To016706223

Alcoholics Anonymous35316710071

Mental Health Ireland018420700