Self harm is when a person intentially hurts themselves. It is a way of coping with feelings of numbness, pressure, stress or painful emotions. There are multiple and complex reasons why people engage in this harmful coping strategy and it can be difficult for someone to stop the behaviour unless they learn more healthy and helpful ways of addressing their issues.
Self harm can take on many forms including cutting, burning, risk-taking behaviours, punching, or picking skin or sores. Self harm often comes with feelings of intense shame and therefore it may be difficult for a person to admit they are engaging in these behaviours, particularly to those close to them, and it can be difficult for loved ones to understand or know how to help.
These behaviours cannot be ignored due to risk. Self harm can be a symptom of depression, trauma, anxiety, or other mental health issues.