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Self harm and suicide

Self harm is often thought to be linked to suicide. This is not the case. People suffering emotional distress may feel suicidal but as self harm is a coping mechanism its function is predominantly to prevent suicide rather than being a suicide attempt.

Some individuals that self harm may go on to complete a suicide attempt. It is unlikely that self harm is the cause of such suicidal feelings. It is far more likely to be due to the reasons triggering the self harm, such as abuse, bullying, financial worries etc rather than an extension of the self harm itself.

In a survey carried out by NSHN of 758 respondents the survey showed that only 4% of these individuals stated that it was suicidal feelings that led to any of their individual incidents of self-harm (Figures correct to August 2009). The feelings given most often were self hatred, anger, frustration, worthlessness and feeling overwhelmed.

"I don’t want to die. I just want the pain to stop. The only way I can get some relief from this emotional pain is by hurting myself"
- Anon.

"It's a way of expressing negative feelings about myself that build up inside me. As someone who finds it difficult to put things into words, it can at times be the only way of expressing how I am feeling."

NSHN, PO Box 7264, Nottingham NG1 6WJ - e-mail: - Registered charity 1106336 - A company limited by guarantee 04305979

© National Self Harm Network 2009.