Doing harm to oneself has become a serious issue, particularly among teens, and is a possible sign of mental illness. This graphic gives a closer look at the behaviour and its causes.

90% of those who do self-harm are pre-teen or teenagers, it often begins at age 14. 38% of older teens and young adults practice self-harm. There are 17% who will carry this self-harm habit their entire life. 40% of college students have admitted to doing self-harm after the age of 17.

What exactly is considered self-harm? Common types of self-harm include sticking objects into the skin, banging their head against hard surfaces, burning themselves, pulling out their hair, hitting themselves with hard objects, incessant picking at skin or scabs, intentionally keeping a wound from healing, ingesting poison or other harmful objects, and the purposeful breaking of bones in hands and feet.

Doing harm to one’s self can be a sign of mental disorders, some which often occur alongside each other. These include major depressive disorder, PTSD, anxiety, conduct and behavioural disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism spectrum disorder. One in 10 teenagers are affected by serious emotional disturbances. A horrifying 6.9% of secondary school students admit they have attempted suicide, and even worse more than double that have considered it. Nearly 20 million people 12 years old and older admit to using illicit drugs, a common sign of mental illness or trauma.

Even though mental disorders are the number one cause of self-harm, other reasons for the behaviour include: coping strategy, emotional regulation, creating sensation (as opposed to feeling numb), control issues, and self-punishment.

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