“I wanted to act on behalf of the sufferer, their families, friends and all those who support them in their day-to-day lives. We need to create a joined up approach in order to embrace full recovery.”   –    Imogen

SHO’s vision is:

1)    Support those struggling with self-harm and help them to achieve recovery through strengthening their network of support.

2)    Resource families, friends and professionals supporting someone who self-harms through providing emotional tools and practical advice.

3)    Create a dialogue between those affected by self-harm and those in authority within mental health, seeking to resource and support those working professionally alongside sufferers and their families and friends. 

A Note about Self-Harm (from those who have suffered and have gone on to full recovery)

  • The term ‘self harmer’ gives the wrong message to the sufferer; it defines them by the act of harming and stigmatises by way of generalisation.
  • Self-harm is not necessarily about control and every sufferer will experience different emotions. There will be different trigger factors for each person. Behind the act of self-harming lie many complex and overwhelming emotions, which can be triggered by various traumas, stress or anxiety. Whether the physical manifestation is cutting, bruising or burning, the sufferer seeks some form of release and escapism from the difficulties they are facing. This behviour can then develop into an addictive cycle and an action that becomes relied upon as a coping mechanism, which can be very difficult to un-learn.
  • It is not an attention seeking behaviour, but can often be a cry for help and a personal and visible reminder of the struggle the sufferer is experiencing.
  • The distress of the sufferer is not defined by the severity of the injury or the method of self-harm.
  • There are not always noticeable or obvious signs – self-harm can include behaviour such as biting or scratching that can go un-detected.
  • Self-harm affects men and women of all ages and cannot be defined as a ‘teenage problem.’
  • Many people who self-harm are overcome with shame and guilt and as a result find it extremely difficult to talk about their feelings.

Photo by Paul Lowry