Self harm is a coping behavior that can be indicative of an underlying serious issue. It is generally not a suicide attempt, nor is it a "cry for attention", but a way to manage emotional distress or exert control over difficult feelings. The reasons behind self harm vary from person to person and can be related to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, poor body image, abuse, bullying, or other stressors.
If you think your child or loved one is self harming, it is important to keep lines of communication open without judgment. Let them know that you are available and that you love them. Do not punish them for self harming and do not trivialize their feelings. I highly recommend reading through these various articles for more specifics. It can be scary to know that your child or loved one is in pain, but the more you learn, the more you are able to help.
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