Myths About Self-Injury By Teen Health Centre Oct 27, 2004, 14:51 Self-injury is a failed suicide attempt. False, self-injury is often a way to continue living and cope with whatever is going on in their life without having to attempt suicide. This does not mean that all cuts to the wrist are not suicide attempts, but most people who self-injure know exactly how deep they can cut before they risk dying. There is a risk that self-injury may also result in an unintentional suicide by accident. Also, this does not mean that self-injury never triggers feelings of suicide and many self-abusers feel very suicidal at times and may have made attempt in the past. Just because it is not a form of suicide doesn’t make it any less serious or less dangerous a choice. Self-injury is “attention seeking” behaviour. OK, now think about this one, aren’t there better ways to get attention? One could dye their hair blue or walk around naked! Self-injury is a coping strategy and usually one that involves covering it up, not showing it off. Self-injury is a sign of distress. Self-injury is untreatable. It’s hopeless. False. The problem is that many people, even professionals, don’t understand self-injury and it seems so foreign to their way of thinking that they can’t think of anyway to help. The key is to look at why not how. There are services available for treating self-injury. You may need to look around to find someone who understands but they are out there. For those of you in Windsor and Essex County, the Teen Health Centre is one of those places. Other places might include crisis centres, sexual abuse treatment centres, children’s mental health centres or women’s centres. It’s Borderline Personality Disorder or they’re “Borderline”. False. Self-injury is not sufficient for a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder which requires five of nine criteria, of which self-injury is only one symptom. Again, this label is an easy way for some professionals to describe what they don’t understand. Self-injury is a coping strategy not a diagnosis. It’s my mother’s/father’s/friend’s fault. They made me do it. False. Self-injury is not someone else’s fault. To self-abuse or not is a choice and choice is a personal responsibility, therefore ending abuse is a personal responsibility. People in your life may trigger you but you still have choices what to do with those feelings. For help with self-injury Contact the Teen Health Centre at (519)253-8481 and ask to speak to a counsellor. For more helpful facts, http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/mental_health/cutting.html has a lot of different ideas to prevent SI and explains the situation thoroughly. It also gives tips on breathing exercises to calm yourself and such. Check it out.