MSU CARE Program
Resources for Faculty, Staff and Parents
|Under the Influence
*All linked information from the Reaching Out Handbook: Resources for Responding to Students in Distress used with permission from Boise State University's Health Services.
THE STUDENT WHO IS ENGAGING IN SELF-INJURY
Self-injury is defined as any damage intentionally caused to one's own body. This behavior is also referred to as self-harm or self-mutilation. Like substance abuse, self-injurious behavior can be linked to no single cause. It is observed in all cultures and socioeconomic levels and is observed in both females and males. It does occur, however, more often among females and people who have a history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Even though there is always the possibility that a self-inflicted injury could be fatal, self-injury is not considered to represent a suicide attempt. Self-injury usually occurs when people feel overwhelmed by their emotions and are desperate to find relief from intense feelings, pressure, or anxiety. Self-injurious behavior often leaves scars resulting from permanent tissue damage. Common methods of injuring oneself include (but are not limited to) the following behaviors:
- burning (or "branding" with hot objects)
- picking at skin or re-opening wounds
- hair-pulling (trichotillomania)
- hitting (with a hammer or other objects)
- bone-breaking via a number of methods
If there is immediate risk to life or property, call 911.