Self-harm is used as a method to cope with everyday stress and suffering, implemented by a range of different approaches, as fatal as it sounds, it is actually a course of action taken in place instead of suicide. Meaning that the individual is using self-harm as a mechanism to stay alive by releasing a build-up of pain and frustration, instead of letting the damaging emotions control one’s mind to the act of suicide.
Unfortunately, there are fatal consequences to intentionally inflicting harm to one’s self. When carrying out the act of harm for the effect for the freeing of distressing emotions, the end result isn’t predictable or manageable, with the consequence of either a long-term disability or death. “Taken together, suicide and self-harm account for a considerable portion of the burden of disability and mortality among young people”. With that in mind, no matter if one’s explanation of acting in self-harm is for the relief of emotions, the permanent consequences of either death and disability are too severe to be disregarded when one’s life is in jeopardy.
A report conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, found that suicide and self-inflicted harm were accountable for 21% of the 41 032 years that were lost, due to the premature mortality of young Australians aged 15-24 in just 2003. It was also stated that suicide was the second leading cause of injury deaths among 15-24 year-olds in 2007 with 32% (figure 8.2).
As this post is part of the Self-Harm & Self-Reflection blog series, I think about one of my previous posts where I discuss why I don’t self-harm, besides the amount of stigma surrounding the action; you can read more on that here Why I Never Cut Myself. It is something I have discussed with both my psychologist and doctor, in which I feel as though once I start either conducting serious self-harm, such as cutting or looking into ways of committing suicide, that I come to the realisation that I want my life to end. In someway this benefits me in a way which I know that once I do inspect further, I need immediate help. I see it as a block in the road one where I know that will affect people around me if I were to lose my way coming back.
I began this series with the intention of demonstrating how different suicide and self-harm is, in which they are, however one can lead into the other. And with that, we still need to differentiate the two, along with educating those who self-harm for an emotional release, that the repercussion of their actions can be deadly; something that I never thought to discuss within the series.
All material is provided for informational use and should not be used as a replacement for medical advice or instruction. If you or someone you know needs help, consult a medical professional.
If you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s safety, please call your local emergency response number and/or a mental health helpline.