Why Do Young People Self-Harm?
Finding out that your child injures themselves on purpose can be devastating. Unfortunately, statistics show that self-harm is more and more common among young people as the rate doubled over the last 6 years. But before you can help your loved one, you should try to understand what might be behind their behaviour.
So, why do young people self-harm?
1. It can help them cope with emotions
In some cases, self-harm might be a cry for help but usually it’s an expression of emotional pain. Sometimes negative emotions might be so intense and overwhelming that the only way to numb them is with physical pain. The most popular form of self-harm is cutting but it might also involve harmful behaviours such as excessive exercise; this can additionally make a person feel more in control and shift their attention from negative feelings.
2. It’s a way to deal with pressure
In the era of social media, the pressure to be more beautiful and successful is greater than it was a few decades ago. When a child is exposed to a fake reality where everyone looks perfect and lives a happy life, it’s difficult not to compare themselves, which can result in feeling not good enough. Additionally, even though there are more opportunities to get the desired education and a good job, there’s a lot more competition. High grades might no longer be enough and a child might have to do a lot of extra activities. Not having any free time takes a lot of toll on mental health.
3. It can be a form of punishment
A lot of young people might self-harm as a response to a traumatic experience. They might believe they deserved whatever bad happened to them and injure themselves as a form of punishment and a way of dealing with self-blame.
4. To feel something
Contrary to a popular belief, depression isn’t just feeling sad. In most cases, it’s more akin to the emptiness which feels uncomfortable and some people might harm themselves to feel more alive because even physical pain is better than emotional numbness.
5. It’s addictive
Once a person starts self-harming it might be difficult to stop as injuring yourself releases endorphins that have a calming effect and can temporarily improve their mood.
If your child is self-harming, you should consider seeking professional help because it’s a sign that they’re not coping with what’s going on in their lives and likely dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. Contact My Family Psychologist to discuss your options