It’s self-harm awareness month! While it may be considered a taboo topic in Singapore as many do not know how to facilitate the conversation surrounding the strong emotions disclosed, it is crucial that we learn more about it and have respectful discussions about self harm. Thus, we are then able to better support loved ones who are in emotional distress.
What is Self-Harm?
Identifying Someone Who Self-Harms
Alternate Ways to Deal with Self-Harm Tendencies
Harm Minimisation Techniques
Emotion-focussed Coping Skills
Problem-focussed Coping Skills
Helping Loved Ones Who Self-Harm
|Be supportive and patient: Show understanding for your loved one and try to understand what purpose self-harming serves for them. Be there for them despite their occasional slips. Understand that walking out of self-harm tendencies is a long journey.||Ask for promises: While this might be done with good intentions, asking someone to promise you to stop hurting themselves may cause more distress if they feel more coerced or guilt tripped than supported.|
|Encourage them to seek help: Provide avenues for your loved ones to seek help if they are receptive. This may include introducing them to helplines like the Samaritans of Singapore helpline, counsellors, or even other forms of coping mechanisms and support resources.||Label or judge: People who self-harm are worried others will judge them for their scars or label them as suicidal. Doing so will only cause more distress and emotional turmoil.|
|Build their accountability towards meaningful goals: he more fulfilled individuals feel, the more alternative coping strategies they have access to. Gently direct your loved one’s focus to controllable situations rather than uncontrollable ones. Additionally, help them brainstorm ways in which they can take small steps to move towards who they want to be and what they want to achieve.||Be dismissive: Do not dismiss self-harmers’ worries and concerns as something trivial. Asking them to “cheer up” might also invalidate the intensity of emotions they feel, which they find difficult to get out of.|