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How To Know If Your Loved One Is Into Self-Harm, And Help Them?

Depression, anxiety, or even PTSD can lead to self harm, a behaviour pattern that includes things like cutting oneself, an action that could lead to a feeling of control.

Depression, anxiety, or even PTSD can lead to self harm, a behaviour pattern that includes things like cutting oneself, an action that could lead to a feeling of control.

Trigger alert: This post contains certain images & descriptions of behaviour that could be disturbing for some readers.

“Hey, Julia, why do you always wear a full sleeves dress?”

“Uh..? Umm nothing, it’s just that I usually feel cold.”

This conversation sounds like a simple one, isn’t it? But it isn’t. This kind of behavior can be a sign that the person is hiding self-inflicting injuries.

Self-harm can be described in various ways. It need not be a want to die but rather deliberate self-injury and non-suicidal injury. This kind of behavior is a clear indication of the person engaging in it is having difficulty in coping with painful feelings.

It isn’t a rocket science to find out whether someone is engaging in it or not. There are some simple signs that you can look for to find out. One of the major signs of this is cut marks on the inner side of the arm. Though there can be many other minute signs that can be seen, like injured fist area caused due to punching or hitting walls / other objects, burnt signs on skin etc. If you see any of these, do not take that lightly. Ask them – ask them to seek help.

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Usually, the person engaging in self-harm feels it difficult to express their feelings/emotions – that is the reason to indulge in it. So, they might often try to hide their repercussions of this kind of behavior (wearing a long-sleeved dress, hiding / covering the body scars).

They do their best trying not to come under attention in fear of getting exposed.

Self-harm is generally not similar to a suicide attempt. But, self-harm might sometimes lead to dangerous results; because they are more prone to have suicidal thoughts, increasing their risk to indulge in suicide.


Self- harm can be very much related to anxiety, depression, and trauma to name a few. This has no age criteria and can be seen in people of any age – right from a kid, teenager to an old aged adult.

If ever you come across someone of such behavior or if you doubt whether your loved one is injuring themselves or not, look for these signs. The moment you see it, do not ignore it. Take the right steps. Call the suicide helplines, consult a mental health professional like psychologists or psychiatrist, right today.

If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, here are some of the helplines available in India. Please call. 

Aasra, Mumbai: 022-27546669

Sneha, Chennai: 044-2464 0050

Lifeline, Kolkata: 033-2474 4704

Sahai, Bangalore: 080–25497777

Roshni, Hyderabad: 040-66202000, 040-66202001

A version of this was published here earlier.

Images source: shutterstock


About the Author

Sukanya Majumdar

PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELLOR FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS. MA PSYCHOLOGY, Diploma in Community Mental Health, NIMHANS Former Forensic Psychologist Intern. Former content writer. Double Masters in Computer Applications & in Psychology. B.A in Hindustani Classical Music. read more...

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