Everything is open for discussion, but there are some core ideas that make LifeSIGNS what it is

Self-injury is a way of coping. (It can release overwhelming emotions for a person in distress or awaken a person who is deep in depressive dissociation.)

The act of self-injury is a choice to cope, to survive; as opposed to an addiction or a step towards death.

Taking responsibility for one’s self-injury is an important step toward recovery.

Coping techniques are developed and learnt, and so new techniques can be learnt and relied upon.

Self-harm is a broad term that includes activities outside of self-injury, such as eating disorders, alcohol and drug misuse, and risk taking behaviours. LifeSIGNS focuses on self-injury.

National deliberate self harm statistics may show that you are not alone, and encourage media and organisation attention, but statistics do not directly help an individual in distress. Nor are self-harm statistics accurate. LifeSIGNS focuses on individuals who need information and guidance / help.

Self-injury does not lead to suicide; despair leads to suicide. Self-injury may indicate despair.

Recovery is not wholly about ‘stopping self-injuring’, it’s about choosing to rely on more adaptive coping mechanisms, valuing the self and seeking health and happiness. LifeSIGNS does not tell anyone to ‘stop’; we encourage making new choices and empower people to address the drivers behind their self-injury.

Self-injury can be relied upon by anyone from any background, at any stage of life. LifeSIGNS is proud of its ‘inclusive’ ethos and does not restrict its services to any specific group of people.

Self-injury is an indicator that help and support is needed; that is not ‘attention seeking’, that is clearly a person in need of understanding and support.

Self-injury is not a mental illness, nor must it always indicate mental illness; it may be relied upon as a coping mechanism by people who are in distress and / or owing to mental ill health.

The perceived severity of a person’s self-injury is not related to the level of distress that person is feeling.

LifeSIGNS does not use the term ‘self-injurers’, but usually refers to ‘people who self-injure’. Self-injury is only ever a ‘part’ of a person, it does not define them. LifeSIGNS supports the use of self-defined terms, including ‘self-injurer’ if a person deems it appropriate.

LifeSIGNS is non-judgemental and non-directional – we support everyone affected by self-injury, and we offer guidance and ideas, we do not advise people or tell them what to do. We want to empower people to make changes in their lives, not take away their power and make decisions for them.

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