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WedMar 1

Self-Injury Awareness Day – March 1, 2023

Self-Injury Awareness Day, or SIAD, is a global awareness event celebrated on March 1. It draws attention to self-harm in the hope of helping people who practice it. Almost two million Americans engage in self-harm. About 17% of people will self-harm during their lifetime. People who self-harm say that it gives them a feeling of control and release from tension. On Self-Injury Awareness Day, people can share their self-harm stories, which can help them find a community of people who understand and can help them overcome it. Mental health organizations also make extra efforts to raise awareness about self-harm and self-injury, with some even offering free therapy sessions on the day.

History of Self-Injury Awareness Day

The origin and history of Self-injury Awareness Day are unknown. People wear an orange ribbon, a butterfly on their wrists, or a beaded bracelet to encourage awareness of self-harm. The orange ribbon represents hope for a misread problem. The idea is to eradicate the common clichés surrounding self-harm and to educate medical professionals about it.

Self-harm begins with an express purpose to harm oneself. Self-injury includes skin carving, self-medicating, and abnormal scratching. Burning oneself, and punching or hitting walls to create pain are also methods. Other examples are drinking poisonous chemicals, radical skin picking, pulling hair, and purposely interfering with wound healing. Warning signs include isolation; avoiding social interactions, and baggy clothing to hide wounds. Further signs are finding sharp instruments such as razors in strange places, constant excuses for cuts on arms, stomach, and legs, and locking themselves into the bathroom or bedroom for long periods of time.

Teens are by far the highest statistic for self-harm injury, as studies show that about 15% of teens and 17-35% of students have practiced self-harm. People who engage in self-harm activities often are three-and-a-half times more likely to try suicide. Depression and self-harm mostly go hand-in-hand. It must however be stated that there are many other reasons people self-harm. The vicious cycle recurs because, after the self-injurious act, the individual will be inclined to feel shame or guilt. This results in significant anguish, leading them to self-injure once again. It is a spiral of shame and guilt, followed by relief and emotional release. Self-Injury Awareness Day aims to get rid of this guilt and break the cycle.

Self-Injury Awareness Day timeline

Late 19th Century
Needle Girls Emerge

Two American doctors, George Gould and Walter Pyle, notice that women around Europe are puncturing themselves with sewing needles in self-torture

1913
‘Self-Mutilation’ Is Used For The First Time

The term is used by L.E. Emerson, who considers self-cutting as symbolic.

1959
The Mental Health Act is Passed

The Mental Health Act of 1959 removes all legal barriers to the treatment of mental illness in general hospitals in Britain.

1979
Nine Types Of Self-Mutilators Are Identified

Ross R.R. and McKay H.B. categorize people who self-harm into nine clear groups based on the form of self-harm they participate in.

Self-Injury Awareness Day FAQs

When is Self-injury Awareness Day in the U.K.?

Self-Injury Awareness Day has been running in the U.K. on March 1 for 20 years or more. 

Why is raising awareness about self-injury important?

Awareness leads to understanding and empathy. It banishes judgment and fear and reduces the number of people who suffer in silence. Raising awareness is about educating people who do not self-injure, and reaching out to people who do.

Which is the most common area of self-injury?

Self-injury can occur on any part of the body, though the arms, wrists, thighs, and stomach are the most common areas where people inflict self-harm.

How to Observe Self-Injury Awareness Day

  1. Check up on a friend

    Sometimes, people can feel alone even when they are surrounded by friends. Use Self-Injury Awareness Day to check up on a friend who might be struggling. Remind them that you are there for them and act as a support system for them.

  2. Wear an orange ribbon

    The orange ribbon is the official ribbon for Self-Injury Awareness Day. You can add an orange ribbon to your outfit to show your support for the cause and signify that you are a safe person for them to talk to.

  3. Speak to a professional

    Even though people who self-harm often need friends and support systems that they can rely on, nothing beats help from a certified professional. If you or someone you know frequently engages in cutting or other self-harm practices, feel free to sign up to talk to a mental health professional who can help you gain control without harming yourself.

5 Things You Need To Know About Self-Harm

  1. It’s not an accident

    Self-harm is intentional, purposeful behavior.

  2. It’s not about getting attention

    People who hurt themselves frequently consider it a private thing and try to hide their behaviors.

  3. Anyone can do it

    Contrary to popular belief that only ‘emos’ self-harm, anyone close to you could be self-harming, no matter their age, gender, race, or lifestyle choices.

  4. It’s more mental than physical

    Self-harming is only a physical manifestation of mental stress and people frequently self-harm to release stress, gain some control, or feel alive.

  5. It’s not necessarily about suicide

    Even though some people who self-harm feel suicidal, many see self-harm as a way to feel alive.

Why Self-Injury Awareness Day is Important

  1. Hurting people need to see that we care

    Self-Injury Awareness Day is all about showing people who self-harm that they are not alone. The day helps us show them that there are people who care about them and who they can rely on whenever they are hurting.

  2. It erases stigma and stereotypes around self-harm

    There are many stereotypes about self-injury that further worsen the case for people who self-harm. There is also some stigma around the practice. Self-Injury Awareness Day helps more people learn why people self-harm and what to do when someone close to them engages in it.

  3. It connects people to real help

    Many people have found lifelines to hold on to on Self-Injury Awareness Day. People who self-harm can find communities they can connect with and draw support from. They can also find professionals who can help them with their struggles and guide them towards safer ways to deal with them.

Self-Injury Awareness Day dates

YearDateDay
2023March 1Wednesday
2024March 1Friday
2025March 1Saturday
2026March 1Sunday
2027March 1Monday
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