Self-Injury Awareness Day is a global event that occurs each year on the 1st March. SIAD has been running for several years now, and LifeSIGNS is proud to lead SIAD in the UK, not only by raising awareness ourselves, but by providing an amazing selection of resources to enable others to raise awareness too.
The purpose of SIAD, ultimately, is change. Changing the perceptions and assumptions of people in general, and changing things for the better for people who self-injure.
People who self-injure can feel alone and isolated; self-injury is often secretive and people suffer in silence. They might feel frightened of talking about their self-injury in case they are judged, ridiculed, stigmatised or misunderstood. And, sadly, all too often they are proved right to feel that way.
By raising awareness our intention is to change how people react to self-injury, by educating them about the truths and by banishing the myths. We intend for people, even if they are unable to fully understand self-injury, to at least be able to empathise with people who hurt themselves in order to cope with emotional distress.
Our aims this SIAD
We want to help the family and friends of people who self-injure to know how best to help and support their loved one.
We want healthcare professionals to understand self-injury from the perspective of their client, not just the perspective of medical books, so that they can better support and help people on their journey towards recovery.
We want to help the people who self-injure to feel less alone and isolated.
We want to help the media to portray self-injury in an accurate, informed and objective manner.
There are so many myths associated with self-injury that create stigma, prejudice, and misunderstanding. Here are just 8 of the myths that we want to banish for ever:
- That self-injury is mainly a female issue;
- that self-injury is a teenage problem;
- that self-injury is attention seeking;
- that self-injury is attempted suicide;
- that self-injury is a mental illness;
- that self-injury is manipulative;
- that self-injury is a ‘lifestyle choice’;
- that self-injury is an addiction.
There are many other myths associated with self-injury. All of them are wrong. So you can see, we have quite a challenge when it comes to banishing these myths, to educating people as to the truths, and to helping people empathise with those truths.
By raising awareness about self-injury, ultimately our aim is to help the people who self-injure. Raising awareness does this in two ways:
- By educating others, our aim is to influence the way they react, treat and support people who self-injure;
- By reaching out to the people self-injure so that they feel less alone in their silent world of pain.
We know from our own personal experience what it feels like to think that we’re the only person in the world who hurts ourselves. To be trapped by a pain we cannot speak of; and to cope in such a drastic, maladaptive way that we’re terrified of anyone finding out.
We also know what it feels like to be judged, criticised, and misunderstood. To have our pain dismissed and invalidated. To be labelled as mad or attention seeking or childish or manipulative or pathetic.
We *know* because we’ve been there, and because we’ve been there we don’t want anyone, ever, to feel those same things. But they do. Thousands of them. Every single day. They feel that pain because perhaps *you* don’t understand self-injury? Because perhaps you have your own pre-conceived ideas about what self-injury is. Or perhaps because you only know what you’ve read in a newspaper or seen on the tele.
We are raising awareness about self-injury partly to help the people who don’t understand. If you’re one them, then please help us this SIAD by learning everything you can. We have resources to help you, so please make use of them.
But ultimately we are raising awareness about self-injury to help the people who self-injure. If you’re one of them, please help us to help you by doing at least one small thing towards raising awareness this SIAD. What will you choose to do?
Together we can change the world.