Self Harm-Help and Information


To try to talk in detail about the reasons people are driven to harm themselves is outside the depth of this page. Everyone has done self destructive things at one time or another. When the urge to do so becomes a preoccupation or a compulsion the term SH (self harm) or SMS (self multilation syndrome) might be applied. SH is includes much more than stereotypical cutting, scratching or head banging and can include behaviours that are damaging both immediately and in a long-term way such as anorexia/bullemia, alchoholism or drug abuse. Pardoxically, SI is not a suicide attempt but an attempt to stay alive. The specific diagnostic criteria recommended are: (a) Preoccupation with SI (b) Acts of self-injury, or a failure to resist urges to injure (c) A sense of building tension preceding the act (d) Feeling gratified or relieved in some way afterwards (e) The act is not a suicide attempt or a response to a hallucination, delusion, transsexual ideation or the result of mental retardation or other organic brain diseases (Favazza 1996)

DEBATABLE--Recent studies have suggested that young people who identify with "goth" culture are many more times likely to self harm or have suicidal tendancies than those who do not. Articles : Half of Young Goths Have Tried Suicide; an opposing point of view can be found in Goth Subculture May Protect Vulnerable Children.

Self Harm-Support and Information
Places to Get Help
  • National Youth Crisis Hotline: # 1-800-HIT-HOME (1-800-448-4663)
    National Runaway Switchboard: Lists of shelters, counseling; food pantries; transportation. Suicide & crisis counseling. Message relay from kids to parents or from parents to kids, 3-way calls arranged. # 1-800-621-4000
    - When You Feel You Can't Go On... Call a Suicide Hotline. Direction for immediate crisis intervention for the gravely suicidal & treatment for major clinical suicidal depression.
  • AAA - Support for alcoholics
  • Substance Abuse : (USA) 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357)
    National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Hotline
  • National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Hotline
    1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357)
  • is a premier website listing online communities, message boards and chats, support-related organizations and information on over 300 health, personal, and relationship topics.
  • Al-anon
    If your life is affected by someone else's drinking

Last updated May  07