Self Harm: Why Does it Happen?

The Causes of Self Harm: Why Does Self Abuse Happen?

Self-harm is an increasingly common coping mechanism for trauma, stress and other mental turmoil.

The stigma attached to self-harm comes largely from the fact that it either frightens others or seems to be committed while calculated and calm. To the contrary, someone who self-harms usually does so in a very high state of emotion, inner anguish and fear. While some plan on the act occurring others self-harm spontaneously and without control. The regularity of self-harm also differs among individuals as some will attempt it very regularly and for long periods in their lives, while others might only do it a few times in total.

Studies show that populations who self-harm the most include:

  • Teenage and young adult females
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or asexual people
  • People who’ve experienced physical, emotional or sexual trauma during their childhood
  • Prison inmates
  • Armed forces veterans

Having a like-minded friend or associate who engages in the act of self-harm often increases its frequency and longevity.