What good is an awareness day? What about tomorrow?

Today is SIAD which stands for Self Injury Awareness Day. But what does it mean to raise awareness, and what happens tomorrow?

The word ‘awareness’ could simply mean that we let people know that something exists. So by telling people that self-injury is a thing, we would technically be raising awareness. Not very useful though, because knowing that something exists doesn’t really help anybody. So awareness, for LifeSIGNS, is only the first step, we then have to create understanding.

Only by helping people to understand the emotional drivers behind self-injury, to understand that anyone can be affected, to understand the difference between the facts and the myths, and to learn how to help loved ones who are affected, only then is raising awareness useful.

To reach out to people, from all walks of life, no matter their gender or race or if they’re over that mystical age of 25 when so much help and support is withdrawn. That is raising awareness.

To empower people to talk about the emotional pain behind their self-injury, so that they can ask for the help that they need to heal, and make healthier choices. That is raising awareness.

To educate the friends / family / healthcare professionals who are spoken to about self-injury so that they know how best to react, and how to help without judgement. That is raising awareness.

And it’s not just about one day. Yes, SIAD is incredibly important as it gets self-injury noticed and talked about; but what about tomorrow? What about the people who wake up tomorrow morning and hurt themselves so that they can face the day?

Raising awareness about self-injury is ongoing for LifeSIGNS. It’s what we do every day, boosted each year by SIAD. Tomorrow, when Twitter has gone back to sleep, we’ll still be doing our thing; creating understanding, banishing stigma, and reaching out to those who are relying on self-injury in order to cope.

We do this all year so that those people who feel heard and acknowledged today, don’t have to wake up feeling alone and ignored tomorrow.

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