How to Spread Self-Harm Awareness
Spreading self-harm awareness is difficult because of self-harm stigma. Self-harm is often either cloaked in taboo or ridiculed as a kind of punchline. If you or someone you know struggles with self-harm or has struggled with self-harm in the past, you may find yourself frustrated by our culture’s general lack of empathy, understanding, and nuance in its approach to self-harm. But there is no need to feel helpless in the face of this frustration. Instead, think of it as an opportunity: an opportunity for you to speak your truth, so that others may hear it and finally know. You can spread self-harm awareness.
Be Your Own Source of Self-Harm Awareness Information
You may think that using scientific facts gleaned from the latest psychological studies is the only way to build a convincing argument in favor of self-harm awareness. You may think this type of argument is the only one people will take seriously and believe. But this type of information (which is often delivered through sensationalistic headlines only to be retracted or contradicted later on), is meant to be used only as a tool — not as a definitive end (See Self-Harm Statistics and Facts).
What people respond to — and what people will remember — are stories. Your qualitative experience of self-harm, which is unique to you and can never be replicated by any clinical study, is a story. Your story can raise self-harm awareness like nothing else can.
It is through stories that those crucial dimensions missing from our culture’s conversations about self-harm and about mental health issues, in general, can be built: empathy, understanding, and nuance.
Spread Self-Harm Awareness to the People You Know
Raising self-harm awareness does not always look like petitions, big speeches, or organized marches. It can be all of those things, but the most effective thing you can do as an individual in your daily life to spread self-harm awareness is to start with the people around you.
You would be surprised at how little the people even closest to you really know about self-harm. That is not to say they don’t care, but that it is, as mentioned earlier, a difficult subject to broach. It flies in the face of the basic animal instinct to avoid pain and is therefore hard to wrap our minds around.
You don’t have to go around evangelizing about self-harm, but if the subject comes up in a conversation between you and the people around you, it is always helpful to speak openly and honestly about your experiences. It is also helpful for yourself to hear what other people think and know about the subject and understanding where they are coming from, just as it is helpful for them to understand where you are coming from.
Spreading self-harm awareness is not about sermonizing or lecturing, but about starting a productive conversation. This conversation may start small, but each small conversation feeds into the larger one. So just tell your story. Every single one counts.
Chang, K. (2018, June 13). How to Spread Self-Harm Awareness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, May 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2018/6/how-to-spread-self-harm-awareness