Image of Self-Injury Awareness Day 2023

Self-Injury Awareness Day 2023

When is Self-Injury Awareness Day 2023?

Self-Injury Awareness Day (SIAD) is an international day of awareness designed to educate people, reduce stigma and reach out to those who self-injure or have a history of self-injury.

The day is a grassroots movement, meaning that it’s not affiliated specifically with one charity, but several prominent mental-health and support organisations such as LifeSIGNS and Papyrus UK, do lend their support to the cause. Common ways of showing people that you are supporting the day include wearing an orange ribbon or beaded bracelet.

Self-Injury Awareness Day 2023 will take place on March 1 2023 and, according to SelfHelp, has occurred on March 1 for the last 17 years or more.

How common is self-harm/self-injury?

One of the aims of Self-Injury Awareness Day 2023 is to highlight how shockingly common self-injury and self-harm are.

It’s estimated that almost two million Americans engage in self-harm and that in their lifetime, 17% of all people will self-injure. Among age groups, teens are the most likely to self-harm, with around 15% of teens believed to have done so at some stage.

People often begin self-injuring as a result of stress, anxiety and related mental health troubles. For some people, self-injuring gives them a sense of control over something, while others cite a feeling of release as the reason they engage in self-harm.

Despite how common it is, discussion around self-injury and the reasons people turn to it can be regarded as taboo. Self-Injury Awareness Day 2023 encourages people to start discussing self-injury with the aim of addressing misconceptions and breaking down taboos and barriers.

Misconceptions about self-injury and self-harm

When discussion about something is seen as taboo, or is a sensitive topic, misconceptions about the topic can arise due to lack of understanding. These misconceptions can be harmful as they may give false information, promote harmful and offensive stereotypes, and help further the isolation that people experiencing difficulties can feel.

Self-injury is no different and there are a number of misconceptions about it.

For example, due to the high percentage of teenagers who self-harm, many people wrongly believe that self-inuring is a phase or something that people grow out of. In reality, people often self-injure due to poor mental health, anxiety and stress. Telling people to stop self-harming can increase pressure on the individual and alienate them further. People who self-injure need understanding and help, and to become familiar with other coping strategies.

Other harmful misconceptions include those that suggest people who self-injure do so just for attention. This is not only dangerous in that it ignores the reasons behind self-harming, but it also overlooks the fact that there are lots of different ways people can gain attention, and those who self-harm often do so in secret and may try to hide any scars or marks.

There are many other beliefs and ideas that some people hold about self-harm that aren’t accurate. Self-Injury Awareness Day 2023 is an attempt to bring self-harm into the spotlight and make people think twice about the misconceptions they may hold, so that those suffering can get the help they need.

The role of mental health leads

Mental health leads have a big role to play in making sure that students in their settings are provided with the support and provision they require. Part of a mental health lead’s skillset is being able to recognise when intervention is required.

Our free webinar titled ‘The Role of the Mental Health Lead in Addressing Suicidal Ideation and Self-Harm' is a fantastic resource for gaining advice and practical guidance on preventing and addressing suicidal ideation and self-harm.

In the webinar, Anna Bateman, subject matter expert on mental health and wellbeing, who has worked in an advisory role for the DfE, shares strategies for prevention and early intervention, and creating a safe and supportive environment where difficult subjects can be broached, and lines of escalation are clearly established.

Understanding the CAMHS Referral Process

CAMHS, also known as children and young people’s mental health services, offers support to children up to the age of 18 with a range of mental health issues. Our webinar, ‘Understanding the CAMHS Referral Process and How to Support Children and Young People’ is available for both primary and secondary settings.

These webinars provides headteachers, senior leaders, governors and mental health leads with expert insight into the CAMHS referral process and look into what children may experience during this process.