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Approximately 2 million cases are reported annually in the US


90% of people who engage in self-harm begin during their teen or pre-teen years


Most common methods: 

Cutting (70-90%)

Hitting (21-44%)

Burning (15-35%)

Signs and Symptoms of Self-Harm

  • Scars, often in patterns

  • Fresh cuts, scratches, bruises, bite marks or other wounds

  • Excessive rubbing of an area to create a burn

  • Keeping sharp objects on hand

  • Wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather

  • Frequent reports of accidental injury

  • Difficulties in interpersonal relationships

  • Behavioral and emotional instability, impulsivity and unpredictability

  • Statements of helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness

Forms of self-injury

  • Cutting (cuts or severe scratches with a sharp object)

  • Scratching

  • Burning (with lit matches, cigarettes or heated, sharp objects such as knives)

  • Carving words or symbols on the skin

  • Self-hitting, punching or head banging

  • Piercing the skin with sharp objects

  • Inserting objects under the skin

How Do I Get Help?

If you're injuring yourself, even in a minor way, or if you have thoughts of harming yourself, reach out for help. Talk to someone you trust — such as a friend, loved one, mental health professional, spiritual leader, or a school counselor, nurse or teacher.

When a friend or loved one self-injures

  • Your child. You can start by consulting your pediatrician or other health care provider who can provide an initial evaluation or a referral to a mental health professional. Express your concern, but don't yell at your child or make threats or accusations.

  • Preteen or teenage friend. Suggest that your friend talk to parents, a teacher, a school counselor or another trusted adult.

  • Adult. Gently express your concern and encourage the person to seek medical and mental health treatment.


When to get emergency help
If you've injured yourself severely or believe your injury may be life-threatening, or if you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.


Additional Resources

For a more detailed resource on Self-Harm, click and download this PDF:  

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