Self-harm is the act of intentionally hurting your own body. Skin-cutting or burning are the most common types of self-harm. Self-harm generally occurs when a person faces painful emotions that seem overwhelming or experiences intense feelings of self-hatred. By physically injuring themselves, a person who self-harms feels in control and is able to temporarily relieve their intense emotions. The release provided by self-harm passes quickly, replaced by feelings of guilt and shame.
In children and teenagers, self-harm is sometimes a cry for help or attention. Although self-harm is not usually a suicide attempt, it is a very unhealthy and dangerous way of coping with feelings of anger, frustration or emotional pain. Seeing a mental health professional can help individuals who self-harm to find positive and healthy ways to cope with negative feelings and put an end to their destructive behavior.