In technical literature the use of the terms parasuicide, or deliberate self-harm (DSH) are preferred – both of these terms avoid the question of the intent of the suicidal action.
An important difference to note is that self-harm is not a
suicide attempt. There is a non-causal correlation between self-harm and suicide; individuals
who suffer from depression or other mental health issues are also more likely to choose suicide. DSH is far more common than
suicide, and the majority of DSH participants are females aged under 35. They are usually not physically ill and while psychological
factors are highly significant, they are rarely clinically ill and severe depression is uncommon. Social issues are key –
DSH is most common among those living in overcrowded conditions, in conflict with their families, with disrupted childhoods
and history of drinking, criminal behavior, and violence. Individuals under these stresses become anxious and depressed and
then, usually in reaction to a single particular crisis, they attempt to harm themselves. The motivation may be a desire for
relief from emotional pain or to communicate feelings, although the motivation will often be complex and confused. DSH may
also result from an inner conflict between the desire to end life and the desire to continue living.
According to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence: ...while an individual episode of self-harm might be an
attempt to end life, acts of self-harm are not always connected to attempted suicide. People may harm themselves as a way
of coping with overwhelming situations or feelings. For some people, self-harm may actually be a way of preventing suicide.
This can be quite difficult for other people, including doctors and nurses to understand.
So saying, one can hardly address the issue of coping strategies in any seriousness without acknowledging the practice
of self-harm (sometimes known as parasuicide) as a coping strategy.
Whilst searching for coping strategies I was surprised by how often self-harm was confirmed as a means of ending,
and so averting a suicidal period.
Surprisingly, self-harm has been said to represent extreme self restraint. However, if one is going through a life or
death emotional crisis, then (I suppose) a carefully controlled self harm injury, represents the least possible amount of
damage compared to death.
At the moment self-harmers represent the second largest category of people admitted into UK hospitals through A&E
Departments - they are numerically second only to actual accidents. Despite the large numbers of those
attending A&E Departments, it should be noted that they are only a percentage of those who (so called) 'self-harm'
However, the whole subject of self-harm (like suicide) is clearly shrouded in ignorance. Like suicide,
it bears a very heavy stigma and those that practice it will be viewed with a mixture of horror and fear by society.
However, as long as self-harm is perceived as a sado-masochistic ritual consisting of cutting and burning; the full reality
of self harm will remain a misconception.
IF YOU HAVE SELF-HARMED AND MAY NEED HOSPITAL ASSISTANCE PLEASE CLICK HERE
WEBSITE OF THE SELF-INJURY, ABUSE, TRAUMA DIRECTORY.
SELF HELP FORUM FOR TEENAGERS
SELF HELP SUPPORT COMMUNITY
USEFUL CONTACTS INCLUDING DISCUSSION FORUMS
Useful sites for friends and relatives of self harmers.
The Friends Guide to Understanding and Helping Self Harmers
A Parent's Guide to Self-Harming.
MATERIAL FOR THIS IMPORTANT PAGE IS CURRENTLY BEING RESEARCHED
AND THIS PAGE WILL BE DEVELOPED ASAP
Produced with the kind co-operation of DERBYSHIRE MIND and the NUMBER ONE COMMUNITY,
First Aid is an
attempt to produce a toolkit to take care of our emotional wounds; which (unlike physical injuries) are not immediately obvious
but can fester deep inside us and can lead us into mental ill health and even suicide.
Firstly, EFA needs to be based upon you, your emotions and your emotional needs. In turn, this has to be based upon your
own self-image – the way you see yourself. Not how others may see you, but how you actually see yourself. This self-awareness
is of the highest importance. Because at the end of the day, your self-acceptance
-or the acceptance of self - needs to be based upon your self-awareness – or awareness of self.
This self-acceptance requires us to be brutally
frank with who and what we are. To accept that each of us is ultimately responsible for ourselves. Each one of us has to be
our own boss. Each of us needs to understand that we have to be aware of the consequences of our own actions. Not only how
it affects us but also how it will affect others. We need to understand also that we have choices, but must learn to accept
the consequences of our actions. In other words we are not victims nor will we make victims of others.
One of the most common forms of self-abuse which we have a tendency to overindulge ourselves
in, involves us bottling up our emotions. Swallowing pressure until we explode. We often become programmed to keep quiet,
say nothing and do nothing. Which means that every time we encounter a difficult situation we react in a pre-determined way.
No matterOur will power and good
intent suffocated by the mental baggage we carry from our parent's, our upbringing, environment and social position.
become depressed because we cannot articulate our problem to others. So instead we keep talking to ourselves and end up making
matters far worse - tangling our thoughts and emotions into a bewildering and totally confusing log jam.
When we are
like this we can be cruel to ourselves as well. Whilst to others we can be kind, considerate and patient, to ourselves we
can be a bully, victim, a persecutor and martyr.
At second aid we listen to your problems. We help you to understand
why you react in the way you do and then work with you to resolve the conflict you are now prepared to admit you have.
show you how to unravel the knotted mess of your feelings - to pull out a strand at a time, recognize the issue, deal with
it and move on to the next one.
Why are we different?
We are driven by our integrity,
not by money. We are concerned with your life not our own ambitions. Our approach is rooted in our spiritual beliefs and in
our understanding of the ability of each of us, given guidance, to overcome any crisis that is thrown at us.
and encourage you until you can stand alone - then patch you up and send you off to get on with your life.
How can we help you?
Our role is to help you create a safe space within which you can start to heal yourself by learning
to let go of the suppressed emotional baggage which is spoiling your life today and holding you back from all the things you
want to achieve tomorrow.
If you are going through a really profound change you have to recognise it and start to co-operate
with it.We'll help you to strip down the emotions and see whether they belong to you or someone else. These feelings could
be of fear, anger, frustration or grief, but if they are yours they won't go away and we will help you to try to find a way
to deal with them. And help you resist the temptations to try to tackle too much at once.
You are the most important
person you know and the more work you do on yourself the more you will have to offer those you love and those who love you.
Making order out of chaos
Life's ingenuity in finding crisis
to shatter the comfort and rhythm of our daily routines knows no bounds.
One day you can be feeling secure in yourself
and your position in society - then suddenly your world can be turned upside down. It could be divorce, bereavement, or the
overbearing stress of your job making you ill.
Or it could be the strain of a failing relationship or the stomach
churning hurt of betrayal by an unfaithful partner. Maybe your career ambitions have collapsed because you didn't get the
promotion you thought you'd been promised.
Whatever the cause, whatever the problem, the chances are that the emotions
will bottle up inside you, your grief, pain or anger fusing together to make managing your daily existence seem like an impossible
The essence of our approach
The essence of our approach is to help you
overhaul the physical, emotional and intellectual foundations of your life within a structure built to your own specification.
When you have been through, or are trying to live through a very stressful situation it is easy to lose your integrity
- to sell yourself down the river or to underestimate yourself completely.
If you are totally shell-shocked we will
teach you simple meditation and relaxation techniques - to enable you to re-connect to your integrity. We will help you to
unravel the layers of prejudice, misconception and suppressed feelings and reveal what really lies behind your emotions. Your
own belief system may have to expand or contract. Your own prejudices and bigotry may have to be acknowledged and owned rather
You may also have to come to terms with some of your own imperfections. Perhaps you need to be supportive
not nice, to work harder or aim higher. We will work with you to understand the prime message and then use the right technique
to release you from it.
TOP 10 TIPS FOR BUSTING STRESS
What are the secrets of dealing with stress - and of relieving it? Two experts on stress -Dr Roger Henderson,
GP and medical columnist; and agony aunt Ingrid Miller - each suggest five stressbusting techniques to get you started...
First, Dr Roger Henderson with some top tips on beating stress.
1. KEEP A DIARY
Keep a list - for at least a fortnight - of events, times, places and people that seem to make
you feel more stressed. You will probably be surprised to find that a pattern soon emerges; and this may be linked to
time pressure, personality clashes, inappropriate demands or simply trying to do too many things
at once. Once you have identified your pressure points you can move on to the following solutions...
Talk through your diary with a good friend or your partner - even the act of discussing things often
makes you feel better. Ask for impartial advice as to how to ease the problems that you have discovered, or choose the sort
of stressful situations that you have identified in which to use the following relaxation techniques.
3. LEARN HOW TO RELAX
•Practise deep-breathing techniques such as slowly inhaling while counting to five;
hold your breath for five seconds then breathe out slowly. Repeat this 10 times when feeling stressed, concentrating on nothing
but your breathing.
•Stretch the muscles of your neck and shoulders by keeping your shoulders level and trying to
touch each shoulder with your ear. Look right up at the ceiling, down at the floor and then rotate each shoulder in a wide
circle. Repeat five times. Open and close your jaw widely after each time since stress often causes tenseness in the jaw area.
Take time out. For five minutes every hour, try to 'shut down' and think of nothing but your perfect situation. This could
be a dream holiday, ideal partner or simply thinking about doing nothing at all. You will be surprised at how effectively
this can lower stress levels.
4. EXERCISE REGULARLY
You do not have to be a gym freak to get the stress-beating benefits of exercise. Even
20 minutes of brisk walking three times a week will help to reduce stress as well as promoting restful sleep.
5. PLAN BREAKS IN YOUR DAY
The aim here is to allow time for the unexpected (which, as we all know, will happen!).
Get up 15 minutes earlier than you think you need to and prepare for the day without rushing. Even better, get things ready
the night before. Try to have 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon that is exclusively 'your' time, in which you can do
whatever you want, even if it is simply sitting doing nothing. Look forward to these times when things get busy and if you
are unable to use them always remember to 'catch up' later on.
AND ONE THING NOT TO DO...
One approach, on the other hand, to avoid, is that of using smoking and alcohol as
crutches to help you cope - in the long run they simply make stress worse. Drinking more to 'calm your nerves' is a slippery
• Dr Henderson is a GP and medical
columnist who is a regular contributor to The Sunday Times and other national papers and magazines. His book, 'Stress
Beaters - 100 Proven Ways to Manage Stress' is published by Metro Books at £7.99.
...AND FIVE MORE SIMPLE STRESS RELIEVERS
Ingrid Miller offers five handy stressbusting techniques to use in everyday situations…
Sitting upright on a chair, and keeping your back straight, extend your arms out in front of
you as far as possible. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat, with your arms behind you. Then hold on to the sides of your chair and
push your body upwards. Feel your spine stretch. Hold for ten. Now stretch arms to the ceiling, to release tension in back
and shoulders. Relax and shake your arms.
2. USE SCENT TO IMPROVE YOUR MOOD
Certain aromas are thought to activate the production of the brain's feel-good
chemical serotonin [although one recent research study suggests that the benefits claimed for aromatherapy may derive from
the power of suggestion. Ed.]. Drip a few drops of the following aromatherapy oils on a tissue to sniff when you feel stress
levels rising: jasmine, neroli, lavender, chamomile, vetiver, clary sage.
Mess creates confusion and a sense of loss of power. If your desk/home/car is messy and disorganised,
have a good clear out and tidy up. You'll instantly feel more in control.
4. CHANGE THE HABIT
Many stresses are habitual. If you start to feel anxious or stressed out, do something out
of character. Stop what you're doing and do something else. Or take a minute to take stock and work out why you're feeling
5. THINK POSITIVE
Use 'affirmations' - positive strands of thought put into words. Repeating, 'I am a loving
and much loved person', can work wonders. Say it and believe it. And it will become true.
• Ingrid Miller is the agony aunt
of Essentials Magazine.
Enter subhead content here
EATING DISORDER RECOVERY PROGRAMME
SUICIDE PREVENTION USA
RECOVERY FROM DEPRESSION
COPING WITH HEALTH CRISES
CRITICAL INCIDENCE STRESS
FRIENDSHIP. ATTEMPTED SUICIDE AND RECOVERY
COPING WITH LIFE CRISES
A 12 STEP RECOVERY PROGRAMME FOR THOSE UNDERGOING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
COPING WITH BEING DEPRESSED AND SUICIDAL
With very special thanks to DERBYSHIRE MIND and the NUMBER ONE COMMUNITY centre in DERBY.