If someone deliberately hurts their own body as a way of dealing with negative feelings or emotional numbness, they are engaging in non-suicidal self-injury, which is sometimes called “self-harm.” Common forms of self-injury include cutting, burning, deep scratching, or hitting.
Self-injury can also be an example of suicidal behavior, and the difference between non-suicidal self-injury and self-injury with suicidal intent can be hard to tell. Regardless of the intent, it’s important to take all thoughts of or attempts at self-injury seriously.
Coping with Self-Injury
Non-suicidal self-injury is often used as a way to cope with negative or stressful emotions. By learning and practicing healthier coping mechanisms, and with a strong support system, it is possible to break the habit of self-injury.
If self-injuring behavior gets worse, this could be a sign that the person is feeling hopeless and engaging in suicidal behaviors. It is important to learn how to address self-injury or other suicidal behaviors before they escalate to a suicide attempt.