The difference between Suicidality and Self Injury is INTENT.
Individuals engage in self-harm to feel “something” other than numb or empty. Sometimes self-harm can be a way to signal to others that they need help or the harming behavior has become a maladaptive coping skill. Individuals who express suicidality are experiencing hopelessness, despair, and thinking that the end of their life could be the solution to their problems. Although both conditions can stem from similar situations or contexts, self-harm does not always indicate that the individual wants to end their life.
We’ve included some helpful graphics to help illustrate the difference between self injury and suicidality. The Centre for Suicide Prevention (2016) shows us how the intent differs between these two concerns.
Klonsky, May, & Glenn (2014) break down the difference between self harm and suicidality be differentiating the typical frequency, methods, severity and purpose for each.
What to say and what to do if someone you know is self-harming
- Ask how they are feeling.
- Do not be judgmental.
- Be supportive without reinforcing their behavior.
- Educate yourself about self-harm.
- Acknowledge their pain.
- Do not promise confidentiality.
- Do not avoid the subject.
- Do not focus on the behavior itself.
- Encourage them to seek professional help.
If we can help you or someone you love manage feelings of desperation, pain, and numbness, give us a call today at 502-709–0410.