Self-Harm: What You Need To Know

About 17% of all people will self-harm during their lifetime, however the actual rate is likely higher than this because of the shame and stigma that surrounds self-harm. Individuals self-harm as a way to deal with difficult feelings, or overwhelming situations and experiences, and can include cutting, burning, and scratching oneself. Self-harm can be difficult to understand, and can sometimes be confused with suicide attempts. Self-harm and suicide attempts are not the same thing, however, there is a strong association between the two. One common stereotype of self-harm is that it is “attention seeking”. The reality is that most self-harm is done in secrecy, and individuals often feel ashamed to ask for help.

There are several self-harm risk factors. These include struggling with mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, drug and alcohol use or addiction, and eating disorders. Self-harming can become physically addictive, as it is habit-forming, and individuals can come to rely on it as a coping mechanism for what they are going through.

Sharing your feelings with someone that you trust can help you self-harm less and feel less alone. If someone has disclosed to you that they engage in self-harm, it is important to be patient and educate yourself on why people self-harm and what you can do to help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with self-harm, please contact our psychotherapy/psychiatry offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit


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