Awareness of self-injury

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A weekly column by Dr Miles Langdon of South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group

In an emerging world of internet trolling and cyber space bullying, we are seeing an increase in cases of self-injury around the county.

Self-injury is a form of self-harming, when a person deliberately inflicts physical harm on their body aimed at relieving feelings of emotional pain. Self-injury can include cutting, burning, bruising, scratching and non-suicidal overdosing.

Those affected consider self-injury a coping mechanism that is used when they find it difficult to deal with emotional distress and it can escalate in frequency and severity.

Often people self-injure when they don’t feel like they can speak to anyone and don’t know where to turn.

The stereotype that this condition only affects teenage girls is naïve and damaging – it can affect anyone regardless of gender, age, race or background.

Anyone who has anything distressing to cope with may potentially turn to self-injury.

We would encourage anyone who is struggling with self-injury to speak to someone about the underlying emotional issues, admitting you need help is a sign of courage, not weakness.

You could speak to a member of your family, a friend, your GP or one of the telephone support lines, such as Life Signs or The Samaritans.

It is important that family and friends of someone who is showing signs of self-injuring behaviour remember it is a coping mechanism, and do not judge them.

Instead, they should focus on the underlying emotional problems and encourage them to make positive changes in their lives and in their behaviour, and help them to find other, healthier coping mechanisms.

Anonymous support for those that are self-harming is available from Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. For more information and support on self-injury, visit or

Self-injury awareness day on social media

Today is #selfinjuryawareness day on social on Twitter. Show your support and help raise awareness by visiting #SIAD