Welcome to another blog post by mental health carer Matthew Mckenzie. Feel free to also check out my video site regarding mental health carers, mental health, psychology and so on.
Its been quite a succession for raising awareness on mental health. Just a few days ago I had just completed a video for eating disorders awareness week, but for the 1st of march we now have “self Injury awareness day” or SIAD for short
Before I continue, what is self injury or self harm?
Now remember I am not a mental health professional, just a mental health carer, so I am going to be as basic as I can.
1) Self harm is basically when someone harms themselves on purpose
2) Many things can bring on self harm or make it difficult to cope with, these things could be alcohol or drug use, low self esteem, a life choice, depression and so on.
3) Some say self harm is attention seeking and it is possible, but I do believe a majority of cases are usually cry for help, lifestyle or something someone cannot help avoiding.
I am not a self harm survivor, but there are sites and organisations worth checking out for more in-depth information regarding what self harm is and coping with it.
Who promotes and supports Self Harm survivors?
So then who are the major promoters helping to tackle self harm? I am going to mention a few, although I have no links to them myself, but I feel it is important to let those know which good sites they can check up on.
The first that springs to mind is Lifesigns. Now they have been very busy raising awareness about self-injury since 2002. They are grateful for more awareness on understanding what self harm is.
LifeSIGNS us run by volunteers with personal experience of self-injury, check out their site and videos, which is worth watching.
The Next organisation is Selfharm UK,
SelfharmUK is a project dedicated to supporting young people impacted by self-harm, providing a safe space to talk.
I have seen some general mental health awareness sites also try tackle the situation about self harm. A good site geared towards young people is called “Young Minds”, which has more information dispelling the myths regarding self harm.
YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.
I have also seen some good blogs regarding the issue of self harm. A good one I found is freedom from harm
Freedom From Harm was set up in 2015 for people looking for support around self-harm and eating disorders. Its worth checking out.
One last mention I can give is Harmless.
Basically Harmless was set up in 2007. It is a national voluntary organisation for people who self harm, their friends, families and professionals.
On self harm awareness day, they are actually holding a Self Harm Conference: From Harm to Hope.
So how do people promote self harm awareness day?
* Write a letter/e-mail to your local politician or even a mental health champion about what self harm means to you and how are they tackling the issue.
* See if you can appear on local radio or TV.
* Hold an event or even attend one that centres on about self harm awareness
* Show your support by wearing orange clothes (orange is usually the colour for self harm awareness) or wear a SIAD T-shirt.
* Produce info like myself about SIAD like this blog post and video shown below.
So what if you are a friend or a carer of someone who self harms?
Usually I try and focus on how a carer can support those who self harm, but I am going to change things a bit. I am going to give some tips on how you can support yourself.
1. Do not feel guilty about the situation, it can be so easy to blame yourself.
2. Get clued up about what self harm is or could be, visit those sites I have mentioned, ask around, remember Information is power and feel free to disagree with things you may come across
3. Get support for yourself, join carers groups, forums or mental health groups.
4. Dont cope in isolation, speak to friends and other family members when supporting someone self harming might get tough. Relationships again can be difficult.
Remember we are all different and what works for someone else may not be what is best for ourselves, so please look up on what I have mentioned and have a happy self harm awareness day.