Self-harm – a hidden problem

May 16, 2024

Self-harm is something that is rarely talked about in almost all societies. But it happens in all cultures, and societies, all over the world. Self-harm affects people from all walks of life: successful athletes, top-performing CEOs, office workers, academics, popstars, and politicians… And it is happening in our community, so we need to talk about it. 


Self-harm is when a person intentionally hurts themselves to cope with difficult emotions. Sometimes these injuries can result in permanent scars, infections, broken bones, or other long-term pain/difficulties. 


Sometimes self-harm is easy to recognize: cuts and burns etc. But sometimes it can take the form of over-exercising to the point of injury, restricting food intake (and other disordered eating patterns), putting yourself in deliberately risky/dangerous situations, and punching walls.   


Often what stops people from speaking about their experiences is a sense of shame and guilt. If this is something you have experienced, or are currently experiencing, you are not alone and things can get better. You might be surprised to learn how common this behavior is. 

It is important to remember that self-harm only ever provides temporary relief, and it can become an addictive behavior. But the good thing is, there are things you can do to change this pattern of behavior and start feeling better. You won’t always feel like this. 


If you want to find out how to overcome self-harm or support someone who might be self-harming, here are some helpful resources with more information and advice: