Self-Harm and Suicide

What is self-harm?

Self-harm occurs when a person physically hurts themselves without intending to take their own life.

How to recognize self-harm

Here are some examples of self-harm:

  • Cutting your skin with sharp objects
  • Taking more medication than prescribed
  • Burning your skin
  • Punching yourself or hitting yourself with an object
  • Hitting walls or objects to hurt yourself
  • Scratching your skin to the point that it bleeds or leaves marks
  • Pulling out your hair
  • Preventing injuries from healing

What causes people to harm themselves?

People harm themselves for all sorts of reasons, including:

  • To relieve stress or anxiety
  • To provoke emotions or feel alive
  • To relieve emotional suffering
  • To experience a sense of well-being or satisfaction
  • To cope with depression or suicidal thoughts

Self-inflicted injuries pose physical health risks because they can get infected. Plus, a misstep could result in serious injury or even death.

Do you harm yourself and have suicidal thoughts?

People who harm themselves may have suicidal thoughts. If this is the case for you, consult the following sections:

01 Taking stock of your mental health

The first step toward taking back control is identifying what’s causing your suicidal thoughts.

02 Taking care of yourself

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and regain your balance when you’re having suicidal thoughts.

03 Talking about it with your loved ones

Asking for help from your family and friends isn’t always easy. There are different ways of going about it.

04 Finding support services

Every day, all sorts of people contact support services to get the help they need.

What to do if you harm yourself

It is possible to stop self-harm. If you have a tendency to harm yourself, first call Info-Social at 811, option 2, to discuss your situation with a psychosocial worker and be referred, if necessary, to resources in your area that can provide support.

For an assessment and follow-up with a healthcare professional, consult a general practitioner (your family doctor, for example), a psychologist or contact your local CLSC.

Other resources can help people who harm themselves.

Advice for people who harm themselves

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