Self Injury

Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is the deliberate act of harming oneself without suicidal intent.  Self-injurious behaviors include carving, cutting, scratching, or burning one’s skin with the intent to inflict pain. Individuals who self-injure may hurt themselves anywhere on their bodies; however, the most common places are the hands, wrists, stomach, and thighs.

Although NSSI may appear like a suicidal gesture, self-injury is often an individual’s effort to cope with overwhelming negative emotions, such as intense anger, sadness, anxiety, and frustration. Self-injury often results in a temporary release of tension and even feelings of euphoria, which may be followed by feelings of guilt, shame and other painful emotions.

Individuals from all genders, nationalities, socioeconomic groups, and ages can engage in self-injurious behavior. The highest proportion of individuals that, at some point in their life, have engaged in self-injurious behaviors is among teenagers at a 17 percent lifetime prevalence rate.  Adults have a lifetime prevalence rate of five percent and children ages 5 to 10 years old have a lifetime prevalence rate of 1.3 percent. Rates of self-injury tend to be higher in children who are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or chronic mental distress. Males who identify as gay, and males or females who identify as bisexual are also at greater risk for self-injury. Researchers have also found that individuals with a negative self-image are more likely to self-injure as the experience of pain may validate their sense of being “bad” or “damaged.” Although many who engage in self-injury do not have suicidal intent, individuals who self-injure are at greater risk for attempting suicide.    

Resource Organizations » Self-Injury » Scituate

In Massachusetts

Center for Young Men's Health, Children's Hospital, Boston

Email: ymh@childrens.harvard.edu

The mission of this website is to help teen boys, their parents, teachers, and health care providers improve their understanding of normal health and development, as well as of specific diseases and conditions. This organization aims to empower teen boys and young men around the world to take an active role in their own health care. The self-injury section of the website includes a series of questions written from a young person's perspective, with answers and information for getting help, other websites, books, and related links.

Center for Young Women's Health, Children's Hospital, Boston

617-355-2994

Email: cywh@childrens.harvard.edu

The mission of this website is to help teen girls, their parents, teachers, and health care providers improve their understanding of normal health and development, as well as of specific diseases and conditions. This organization aims to empower teen girls and young women around the world to take an active role in their own health care. The self-injury section of the website includes a series of questions written from a young person's perspective, with answers and information for getting help, other websites, books, and related links.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness - Veteran and Service Member Resources

617-580-8541

Toll Free: 800-370-9085 (M-F 9am-5pm)

Fax: 617-580-8673

Email: info@namimass.org

The National Alliance on Mental Illness maintains a helpline for information on mental illnesses and referrals to local groups. The local self-help groups have support and advocacy components and offer education and information about community services for diverse communities comprising of LGBTQ individuals, veterans, active duty military members, teens, young adults, older adults and families. Local chapters can be found through the main website. For information about the Alliance's affiliates and activities in MA, contact NAMI Massachusetts.

Outside Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

Crisis Text Line

Text START: 741-741
Email: support@crisistextline.org

Crisis Text Line serves young people in any type of crisis, providing them access to free, 24/7, emotional support and information they need via the medium they already use and trust: text. Just text "START" to 741-741. Here's how it works:

  • A teen texts into CTL anywhere, anytime.
  • A live, trained specialist receives the text and responds quickly.
  • The specialist helps the teen stay safe and healthy with effective, secure counseling and referrals through text message using CTL's platform.

CTL partners with existing organizations that are experienced, highly trained, and well-equipped to respond to teens in crisis: experienced crisis centers, youth-serving organizations, and experts in the youth and mental health fields. CTL also lists resources on a variety of topics with helplines or email addresses where they can learn about additional support.

Organizations without hotlines

Adolescent Self Injury Foundation

Email: adolescentselfinjuryfoundation@gmail.com

Adolescent Self Injury Foundation (ASIF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise awareness about adolescent self injury. By providing education, prevention techniques, resources, research,and forums, ASIF aims to increase understanding of the self injurious behaviors in the journey towards wellness and recovery.

Child Mind Institute

212-308-3118

The Child Mind Institute is an independent nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. The  team works every day to deliver the highest standards of care, advance the science of the developing brain and empower parents, professionals and policymakers to support children when and where they need it most.

Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior

Phone: 607-255-6179

Email: self-injury@cornell.edu

The Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior in Adolescents and Young Adults has two primary goals: a) to conduct cutting edge research on self-injurious behavior (also called non-suicidal self-injury) and b) to translate research findings from their studies and other studies into usable knowledge for parents, youth-serving professionals, individuals with self-injury experience, medical professionals, and others. The program's work is also intended to explore the relationship of self-injury to other mental health conditions (suicide and eating disorders, for example) and to shed light on contextual conditions that increase and reduce the likelihood that young people will engage in self-injurious behaviors. The website includes factsheets for parents and teens on helping friends and loved ones with their behavior, learning alternative coping strategies, and treating self-injury in a professional context. There are also listings of the latest research articles on the topic.

Door of Hope 4 Teens

(914) 393-1904

(803) 570-2061

Email: doorofhope4teens@gmail.com

The organization's mission is to help teens and young adults overcome the struggle of self harm (cutting) and depression. The organization aims to meet emotional needs and help individuals discover freedom through a process of restoration and hope. Since May of 2008, Door of Hope 4 Teens has been a devoted advocate for teens and young adults who struggle with self-injury, also known as cutting, self injurious behavior, or deliberate self harm. THe team of crisis Advocates and Recovery Coaches provide emotional support, resources and prayer. THe organization has helped thousands of youth from across the globe.  Door of Hope 4 Teens offers a national texting hotline, email mentorship and skype/phone calls making it possible be reached no matter where you live.

International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)

Suicide and non-fatal suicidal behaviour are major public health problems across the world. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that approximately one million people worldwide die by suicide each year. This corresponds to one death by suicide every 40 seconds. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined. Suicide attempts and suicidal ideation are far more common; for example, the number of suicide attempts is up to 20 times the number of deaths by suicide.

On this organization's website one can find IASP newsletters and other publications, information about their Special Interest Groups, and Congresses, all dedicated to suicide and self-injury prevention locally and throughout the world.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) is dedicated to:

  • preventing suicidal behaviour,
  • alleviating its effects, and
  • providing a forum for academics, mental health professionals, crisis  workers, volunteers and suicide survivors

Kids Helpline

Email: counsellor@kidshelpline.com.au

Self-harm is when someone causes themselves a deliberate harm or injury, often in a regular or ongoing manner. Usually, people who harm themselves are suffering a lot of emotional pain that can be hard to cope with and understand, for both the person self-harming as well as for those close to them. Individuals can reach out and talk with this organization for FREE about good things and tough stuff, exciting times or about something that’s bringing one down. There’s heaps of great tips and information for individuals and remember, one is always welcome to talk with this team. 24/7. 365 Days.

 

Life Signs: Self-Injury Guidance and Network Support

Email: hello@lifesigns.org.uk

People of any age can turn to self-injury, it isn’t a ‘teen thing’. Because self-injury is often perceived as something ‘young people’ do, older adults can feel that it is something they should have ‘grown out’ of. These feelings can be even more difficult when an older person has turned to self-injury for the first time, rathe than discovering self-injury in their youth. Self-injury isn’t a ‘teen thing’, and that people of all ages might rely on self-injury in order to cope. While younger and older people share many of the same challenges in life and with their self-injury, there are also different difficulties to face by people at different stages in their life. LifeSIGNS is the user-led small charity creating understanding about self-injury. Founded in 2002, this organization is now in the second decade and it’s a continuing mission to guide people who hurt themselves towards new ways of coping, when they’re ready for the journey.

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Email: help@nspcc.org.uk

Self-harm can take lots of physical forms, including cutting, burning, bruising, scratching, hair-pulling, poisoning and overdosing. There are many reasons why children and young people try to hurt themselves. And once they start, it can become a compulsion. That's why it's so important to spot it as soon as possible and do everything you can to help. Self-harm isn’t usually a suicide attempt or a cry for attention. Instead, it’s often a way for young people to release overwhelming emotions. It’s a way of coping. So whatever the reason, it should be taken seriously.  

S.A.F.E. Alternatives

Toll-free: 800-366-8288

Email: info@selfinjury.com

S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES is a nationally recognized treatment approach, professional network, and educational resource base, which is committed to helping individuals achieve an end to self-injurious behavior. The website offers information about the treatment approach, referrals to local mental health providers trained in S.A.F.E., and resources related to self-injury.

Self Injury Foundation

888-962-6774

Email: info@selfinjuryfoundation.org

The mission of the Self Injury Foundation is to provide funding for research, advocacy support and education for self-injurers, their loved ones and the professionals who work with them. The organization is dedicated to providing the most up to date information and resources available on self-injury.

Self Mutilators Anonymous

Email: selfmutilatorsanonymous@yahoo.com

Self Mutilators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other, that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from physical self-mutilation. Offer in-person meetings in New York with call-in options to these meetings, as well as online meetings that are accessible to all from any location.

Self-Injury Outreach and Support

As part of a collaboration between McGill University and the University of Guelph, this orginzation is an international outreach organization providing current information and helpful resources about self-injury to individuals who self-injure, those who have recovered, as well as their caregivers and families, friends, teachers and the health professionals who work with them.

 

To Write Love On Her Arms

(321) 499-3901

Email: info@twloha.com

TWLOHA provides resources including national hotline numbers, blogs, and opportunities to get involved in helping. "TWLOHA is not a team of trained mental health professionals and does not provide direct mental health services. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help by pointing to resources and investing in treatment and recovery."