Self-injury, also called self-harm and self-abuse, refers to deliberate acts that cause harm to one’s body, mind and spirit. Examples include cutting the skin with razor blades or pieces of glass; burning and hitting oneself; scratching or picking scabs or preventing wounds from healing; hair pulling; and inserting objects into one’s body. Cutting is the most common form of self-injury among today’s youth.

In a broader sense, behaviours such as smoking, alcohol and drug addiction, binging on food and staying in an abusive relationship can also be considered forms of self-harming.

People who self-injure may not be trying to kill themselves. Usually, they are not trying to end all feeling; they are trying to feel better.

The information on this page is courtesy of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)