This archived article was written by: Kimberlee Ritchie
An ongoing epidemic across the world is plaguing people as young as eleven and as old as 45. It’s something unseen, something not generally spoken of, because its sufferers are viewed of by the public as freaks and weirdos. It’s something that more people than you think are dealing with right now, something that somebody you love is probably going through. It’s a terrifying and lonely experience. It is self-injury.
The day to let the world know you care about it is March 1, every year.
Self-injury (also known as self-harm and self-mutilation) involves damage inflected with the intent of causing bodily harm to one’s self. The methods most often used are cutting and burning one’s skin, and it is not done as a suicide attempt, indeed , it is often used to stave off such feelings. According to a study done by the University of Missouri-Columbia, three million Americans engage in some form of self injury. However, no real numbers are actually known because it is hidden so well – its sufferers don’t often speak of it. It often begins in the early to mid teenage years and stays with you for most of your life.
It is important to realize that self injurious behavior does NOT label a person psychotic, suicidal or disturbed – it is a coping mechanism the same as drugs and alcohol. Something used to numb the pain. It is often combined with feelings of guilt, helplessness, rejection, self-hatred, anger, failure and loneliness.
If you self-injure, you are not alone. There are several students on campus that I know of personally who are currently struggling, or have struggled in previous years. If you want to, there is help to be found.
Dede Howa, student counselor (located in SAC room 118) said, “I would prefer anyone who has these problems to use me as a resource so that I may provide them with other resources [in the Price area]. It will be kept confidential. The only time that a student would need to leave campus [for issues such as these] is if they refused a therapy program, in which case we would ask them to leave campus until the situation settles down.” She is available Monday through Thursday from 9 am-4 pm, and can be somebody to talk to about these issues or somebody who can direct you to other people and places in Price who can help you as well. We will soon have pamphlets in the student center regarding self injury which you can take if you or a loved one injures themselves.
Some available resources on the web for self injury support are www.psyke.org, www.selfharm.net, www.siari.co.uk and www.albj.co.uk/pws/index.html.
For those interested in showing that you care about those who suffer from self injury, please wear an orange ribbon on March first, 2004. For those of you who self injure, March first this year is the first annual No Self Harm Day. It is the hope that self injurers around the world will participate and spend the 1st of March without self harming.
Please wear an orange ribbon on this day to show that you care about those fighting self injury. Remember, self injury affects sufferers the whole year, not for just one day.