The following guide is for informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or give medical advice.
Trigger Warning: This guide provides sensitive information that some people may find disturbing. Proceed with caution and note the Resources for Help at the bottom of this page.
What is Self Harm?
Self-harm or self-injury means hurting yourself on purpose. It is also known as Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI).
Hurting yourself—or thinking about hurting yourself—is a sign of emotional distress. Self-harm is not a mental illness, but a behavior that indicates a need for better coping skills. Several illnesses are associated with it, including borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, or post traumatic distress disorder (PTSD).
The urge to hurt yourself may start with overwhelming anger, frustration or pain. When a person is not sure how to deal with emotions, or learned as a child to hide emotions, self-harm may feel like a release. Sometimes, injuring yourself stimulates the body’s endorphins or pain-killing hormones, thus raising their mood. Or if a person doesn’t feel many emotions, they might cause themself pain in order to feel something “real” to replace emotional numbness.
Once a person injures themself, they may experience shame and guilt. If the shame leads to intense negative feelings, that person may hurt themself again. The behavior can thus become a dangerous cycle and a long-time habit. Some people even create rituals around it. If someone is hurting themself, they may be at an increased risk of feeling suicidal.
For a comprehensive list of McFarlin databases consult our A-Z Database List. Databases may require you sign into the library system before viewing; you will be automatically prompted if a login is necessary.
In a study across 40 countries, it was found:
While people of all ages can self harm, there is a higher occurrence among young people:
One study found that of people who self-injure:
There is hope. Self harm does not have to be lifelong:
(The Recovery Village, https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/self-harm/self-harm-statistics/; Gitnux, https://blog.gitnux.com/self-harm-statistics/)
For a comprehensive list of McFarlin books about self harm consult our library catalog. Some ebooks may require you sign into the library system before viewing; you will be automatically prompted if a login is necessary.
You may want to get help for any mental health issue if it lasts for a long period of time or begins to interfere with your ability to function, such as eat, study, and have fun. TU has counselors who would love to help you with your mental health.
This site provides information about and contact information for TU's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).
If you are having a mental health crisis, the following sites provide help:
Call or text 988 - Oklahoma's statewide mental health lifeline