MYTH: “Self-Harming is always a suicide attempt”
FACT: It is absolutely crucial to differentiate between a suicide attempt and self-harm. People who self-harm don’t have the intention of dying, but instead are seeking temporary relief from deeply distressing emotions.
However, it is important to realize that self-harm is more common in people suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and anxiety disorders, making them also at a greater risk for suicide.
MYTH: “Self-harm is attention-seeking behavior”
FACT: People who self-harm tend to feel two things afterward:
- A temporary sense of relief
- An intense shame
They tend to hide visible scars using makeup or clothing, and more often than not, keep it a secret.
MYTH: “Self-harm is a sign of weakness or a lack of religious upbringing and values”
FACT: In reality, self-harm has nothing to do with a lack of faith or values, but instead an intense need to escape from emotional pain. People who engage in self-harm often experience shame on different levels, amongst them, the feeling their coping mechanism is weak and less strong than other people.
It’s also important to note: self-harming can occur in the midst of a dissociative episode, which means the person is not fully present or aware of their actions.
MYTH: “Only young teenage girls engage in self-harming behaviors”
FACT: The prevalence of self-harm in males cannot be disregarded or trivialized. Research shows that this form of coping is used across genders, but evidence suggests that self-harm can look different, and take different forms between men and women.