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Self Injury

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Harm reduction in self injury

Harm reduction in self-injury recognizes that stopping may not be realistic for everyone. For some, the act of self-injury may help cope with, and prevent from acting on, suicidal thoughts. As a result, it means providing people who self-injure with information and resources they need to minimize the injury and prevent secondary issues like infection.

Safer self-injury can:

• reduce the number of deaths as a result of self-injury
• reduce the risk of infection by providing clean implements and first aid materials 
• reduce severe injury with anatomy education to ensure that the location of self-injury is the least dangerous site
• connect to supportive environments where individuals can access health, counselling and social services
• offer suggestions on distraction strategies, and alternatives, to replace physical or visual sensations, with safer options 

Source:  adapted Self-Injury Support UK, 2023 

Harm Reduction Resources

The National Self-Harm Network (UK) – Cutting the Risk – Self-Harm, Self-Care and Risk Reduction
Self-Injury Support UK (UK) – Harm Minimisation


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