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Self Injury

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Reasons for self injury

The motivation behind self-injury can be complicated. Some commonly reported reasons include:

• Hurting ‘outside’ can shift away from painful emotions ‘inside’
• To feel better – a way to release emotions like anger, or to feel ‘something’ when experiencing numbness
• To communicate emotional pain – a visual way of reaching out for help
• To feel a sense of control – a way to regain control when feeling powerless 
• To punish self – self-blame for perceived faults

Regardless of the reason leading someone to self-injure, the act is a way to cope with negative feelings and stressors. 

Source:  Adapted from Canadian Mental Health Association, 2023

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