Suicide and self-harm are often grouped under the same category. People believe that intentional harming of oneself is a suicidal behavior. Realistically, suicide and self harm are two very different actions with very different intentions. The two are both usually a result of depression. The approach of help for a suicidal person and a self harmer should be different. The way the two are portrayed in society should also be different.
A victim of suicide has built up emotions of sadness and hopelessness therefore finding the need to end their lives permanently. Self harming can be used as a way to delay suicide. Self harm is used a coping method. Pain is used to replace bad emotions and release endorphins causing a mental relaxation. Similar to the way a person will smoke, it is a way to relax. A suicidal person self harming shows that the person does not want to commit suicide. If the person wanted to kill themselves they could easily do so using other methods, self harm is just used to cause minor physical pain. Committing pain on oneself the person is showing they still have not completely given up yet and can still find a way to feel better. Only two percent of suicides were a result of intentional self harm. This statistic shows that self harm is not killing people. The temporary release can rid the person of the emotions built up that could push them over the edge to kill themselves.
Psychologists have shown that engaging in self injury works to as a way to cope with negative emotions. A sense of relief occurs after harming. This relief is a result of the release of endorphins that relieve pain, thus producing happiness in the brain. People use self in similar ways that others use drugs, alcohol, food, or sex.
People need a way to release their emotions and each person chooses a different method of doing so. The people who drink, smoke, eat, or have sex to feel happy are not too different than those people who harm. Both groups of people rely on something else to relieve their emotions and stress. Harm is a natural way of doing so. People do what they have to do. A large portion of people start the behavior of harm in early adolescence due to the fact that they do not have access to drugs, alcohol, or sex, so they turn to what they can do. Unintentional infection from wounds is more common than intentional injury, similarly to the way drugs lead to cancer, alcohol leads to liver problems, and sex leads to diseases.
Self harm can be a positive statement. Majority of people have a distorted view of what self harm is and this only creates problems.
Doctor Samantha Warner, a practicing psychologist sees self harm as a rational course of action for the victim. Warner feels that too much emphasis is placed on the symptoms of self harm and not enough the causes. The traditional approach of dealing with the matter with an intervention is wrong. The current health services for harmers put the focus on preventing more incidents which can lead to more emotional distress. Self harm is therapeutic. Telling the person seeking help for self harming that they need to stop the only method of therapy they have known, and that what they are doing is wrong will only make the person feel worse. A radical new approach is being pioneered which instead of forcing people to stop, prefers people to self harm safely. The approach is to avoid shaming people who self harm. Psychological consequences such as feelings of shame, and fear of social rejection are common from self harm, these are caused by the world view of self harm. A positive view on self harm could allow the world to get a handle on the self harming tendencies among people.