Talk:Self-harm/Archive 1

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I've added a psychology section. It still needs a lot of work, but I hoped by putting it online in the present form it might encourage others to contribute. The original article contained only the answer to the question: What is it? I wanted to add: Why?

Good work. I've done a quick copy edit and added a bit more. My additions need checking - I'm not neutral on this subject, although I have tried to be here of course. -- sannse 21:03, 2 Nov 2003 (UTC)


Should something be said about songs inspired by self injury?

I know that "Tourniquet" by Evenessence, "Hurt by NIN" "Bleed Like me" by Garbage (maybe the most obvious) and Bad Habit Song by The Dresdon Dolls at least refrence self injury. has a list of self injury songs.

The list is getting quiet long, rather that any song that mentions SH would it be best to restrict this to songs where is it a main theme? Nate1481 02:37, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree - judging by [1] this list could get quite long. If people think a full list is worthwhile, perhaps a new article could be made. I agree that for this article, the list should kept to the main ones. Mdwh 03:52, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

The sepearte list might be a good idea but still keeping a couple that are about it in the article & link to list for the rest (or people will just keep adding them)

I know only a few of these well enough so can anyone who knows if its a major or minor theme more to 'Major' or Minor below (unless someone can think of a better way of doing it). Nate1481 23:30, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

I have removed all but' MAJOR 'from the main page. Any where it's a major theme, not just 1 or 2 lyrics sort here and re-add. Nate1481 15:28, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

I strongly disagree wikh having music of any kind in the article. Popular references to self-harm are probably not what a person wants to know about when they look up the self-harm article. Maybe we could split it into a sub-article? I am also removing the S.A.F.E. link in the treatment section of the article. They already have a link in the external links section. Cedars 23:30, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
The link is a good idea, i was tyring to cut it down to a just a few songs that were relevent but no one seemed interesed in helping, just adding more.


Currently unassgined:



Also would a table be sencible in the article? Headings such as Name, artist, key lyrics(link?) or is this going to take over the article and this be more apropreate as a sub? Nate1481 23:30, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Added new from article and moved some more but i'm guessing with these HELP! {{expert}} Isn't absolutly right but nearest I could find, also are we including suicide related lyrics as well of can we remove those? Nate1481 14:39, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I have added the list to a sub-article titled self-harm in popular culture this is the approach used by many such articles in Wikipedia. See, for example, Turtles and tortoises in popular culture. A link has also been added to the "See also" section. Cedars 23:45, 31 October 2006 (UTC)


When referring to a group of people who share a behaviour pattern, it is best to stay PC and say 'people who self-harm' or 'those who self-harm'; it is wrong to label them 'self-harmers', just as it is old-fashioned to force people to be 'disabled people' when they are in fact people first, with certain disabilities second.

I'm not interested if you think this is 'political correctness gone mad' - i'm stating the very best way to relate to people without causing offence or labeling them forever as 'something'.

Yes, people who self harm may well refer to themselves as self-harmers, and those within the community are welcome to self-define as they wish, it is the same as when one person uses the word 'nigger' and that's fine, and when another person uses the word 'nigger' and it sounds wrong.

Agent Alpha


Is it correct to refer to: self harm, or self-harm? Do we care a lot?

Self-harm though self-injury I think is more common.--Unopeneddoor 22:32, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Agent Alpha

Self-harm. -slunky

Is self-biting a word?? DinB 20:10, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

I think any contraction is resonable. Where I've used it in the definition section, the terms in the list are as they are in the journal article cited. (apart from hair pulling - which I've actually just moved to a seperate bullet for this reason). Acidsaturation 22:26, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Speaking through scars

I have a problem with this sentence:

They are a paradox: wanting to say something through their scars yet fearing the repercussions of their behavior being evident.

This is not scientific nor even remotely NPOV. The author here is just guessing what people think who have SH. I'm not neutral on the subject myself but claiming I want to "say something through my scars" doesn't even make sense! If there's a scientific study backing up these claims then please add it so I can take a look at it, otherwise I'm inclined to remove this sentence and the stuff which was added behind it.

It's merely one of the many possible factors that contribute to the motives for self injurous behaviour. Maybe it would be more fitting for the sentence to indicate that this is one interpretation, since this is such an ambiguous and hard to comprehend issue. As a self-injurer, I fully comprehend and agree with said statement. "Saying something through scars" merely means, the attempt to convert emotional turmoil into physical pain in order to visually communicate inarticulated suffering. - Grapeflux

Yes, that's a phrase I'm not too happy with either, because it's easily misinterpreted. I'll try and explain how I understand it and maybe one of you gifted wikians can break it down to one sentence?

Scientifically, every action can be considered communication, this also includes non-action (i.e. icy silence). That's how Self-Injury, even though it is hidden from all the world, still is communication. Even if I don't cut to communicate my distress to others, it still is my expression of that distress. A letter written and not sent still has been written! The injury isn't senseless, it has a meaning (contains information), has a reason (impulse to externalize) and has a cause (f.ex. an unresolved trauma).

I hope this makes a little sense!?!

-*-*-*- A remark on the side and for the sake of it. What's more important than the views communication science may offer, is that Self-harm must be understood as communication and not as manipulation. In that regard I can live with the use of that phrase. -*-*-*-

self-harm to breasts and sexual organs

Unfortunately the person who merged the article with this one forgot to move the discussion/talk-page to here. I wanted to post on that discussion page to say that I'm not able to improve that now-non-existant article (or the part of this self-harm article about self-harm to private places) within the coming few years. And I wanted to say that anyone should feel free to delete anything that was written by me. Thanks for doing just that!

I even haven't had the courage to see what was left of the self-harm to breasts and sexual organs article until right now. Right now, I just checked this article (self-harm) searching for the words "sexual organs". It just has two sentences about it, just the thing we, can back up with sources and the only info that should be in an encyclopedia about self-harm to private places. I think the way it has been merged is very professional (even if it doesn't seem a big deal to merge just two sentences). And I'm sure the two sentences that "survived" the merge are absolutely correct (heard from many people first-hand stories telling me just what's in the article).

My compliments!!!!!!!!!! Hehehe, I must be a little overenthusiastic right now. :-D

Thanks again. I think I will work on the schizotypal personality disorder article maybe. It evokes much less fierce feelings, and it is even comforting and kind of soothing to write about that, and there's loads of good info about that on the web. (Hmm, maybe I will end up with the same problem when I try to improve the schizotypal personality disorder article. I'll think a few weeks about it, before starting again an article full of personal research and even some personal experience. Sorry about that in the self-harm to private places article. I won't write articles when I'm hyperemotional, drunk, or tripping on LSD, hehehe.

Greetings, Paulus/laudaka (add me to your YIM/AIM/ICQ/M$N M contact list if you like!) Laudaka's talk page 14:57, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)


While I see why the pictures are useful for this topic, is there any way to either warn about them or (possibly) would it be acceptable to create a 'no pictures' alternate article like is done for some of the sexual topics?

My main worry is that those pictures could 1. Be incredibly triggering to someone who is self injuring and 2. Aren't warned for in any way, shape or form, so it's just...bam. Cutting.

And I realise this entire article could be triggering, but that's the main thing that hit me over the head. El Juno 13:28, 28 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I don't know, I guess encyclopedia shouldn't censore it's articles or such and there should be as much information as possible. And I dont find the pics to be triggering, it's very shallow self injury, for most people it is deeper DeirYassin 07:57, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

Yea I just looked at the article after not having seen it since before the pics were added. Definitally triggering for me. It seems to me that it isn't adding anything to the article. They don't really seem to serve a purpose Lyo 23:58, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

They do serve purpose; same as any thing pictured on encyclopedia; more info is good. Here it could help e.g. if someone searches info on self-harm at wikipedia because he/she believes that someone he/she knows might be self harming, and therefore it would help thyem to see how exactly self harm wounds look and such. Probably there should be more pictures; like ones of scars, of carved symbols, of burns and such too though DeirYassin 05:43, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

I hardly think that is very likely. "How self harm wounds would look" can't really be generalized into one or two images in an encyclopedia. I don't object to them being there though, I don't really think there has to be any purpose other than more info. I mean, what "purpose" does the picture of the color blue serve on the entry for that word?... Sippan 12:59, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

Yes I agree with you DeirYassin 17:14, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

How about moving them to the bottom of the article with a trigger warning above? --OGoncho 21:12, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

Hmm I dont know, Wikipedia is not a "safe" material for everybody, it is meant to give as much information as possible. Such triggering is only done at boards for self-injurers support, and it is good and appropriate there, but not at Wikipedia. If we'd do this here, we should mark all the article parts and pictures which would be inapporpriate for some kinds for example that way, or parts which does seem to be politically incorrect, etc. I think this all is against purpose of Wikipedia DeirYassin 22:09, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

Yes, good point. Why not just at the bottom, though? Easy to ignore, but still in the article. --OGoncho 06:25, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

Hmm usually pictures are at the side I guess, but you can do as you want maybe DeirYassin 08:19, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Well, I've moved them to the bottom for now, at least. --OGoncho 06:53, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

I agree with the above comments, and don't find the current location particularly helpful. Specifically, my objections are that:

  • The photos are of objectively poor quality
  • They illustrate a very narrow range of self-harm-type injuries
  • They are viscerally disturbing.

Note that, for example, the article on the Brown recluse spider has no inline images of the extremely disturbing yet fascinating wounds it delivers. I am going to be bold and convert these to links. --April Arcus 22:30, 12 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I don't thin wikipedia should be censored; as encyclopedia, it is source for all kind of information, including pictures. What might disturb ones might not disturb others; some might be disturbed by some pictures of war atrocities and dead bodies which are already in wikipedia for example, others might not like sexual pictures as "demoralising", etc. Will we start removing everything? Link is not clearly visible either. And anyone is welcome to upload pictures which would show other types of self injury too. DeirYassin 00:16, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'm not trying to make an assertion of policy of any kind, and I hope you don't take this as censorship. I'm just saying that, as those two images stand, I don't feel like their contribution to wikipedia outweighs the issues raised by myself and others. If we had a selection of images, of high quality, depicting various forms of self injury, and preferrably not fresh wounds, then it would be worth having a serous discussion about their inclusion, but I do not feel the two images in question meet that standard. --April Arcus 07:47, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
But according to this logic, we would have to delete most of wikipedia, because articles are not yet complete. Lithuanian wikipedia does not seem to have a problem with these pictures. I'll try to upload pictures of bigger quality though maybe (but that will be more disturbing for people I am quite sure). And btw cutting is not a narrow range of self injury, most of self injurers practice it as polls indicate (also hitting themselves, but many of same people do not consider it to be self injury unless it causes a considerable damage which is rare). DeirYassin 09:08, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Look, here's what I'm saying: there are various very good reasons for not having inline images on this page, which have been listed above. If we are to include images, it should be because they are of such quality and convey such information that they outweigh the stated objections. The two images in question plainly do not. If you are truly intent on having images here, there are numerous websites such as that host them. Perhaps if you find anything worthy of inclusion, you could convince the copyright owners to license them under GFDL or CC-sa so that they could be used here. --April Arcus 10:20, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
As for the "narrow range" comment, since this article is on self-harm in general, it seems to me any illustration should take into account the scope and variety of the topic, even if shallow horizontal cuts on the left forarm are far and away the most common form. --April Arcus 10:25, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
However, this is encyclopedia, not a self-injurers support website, which would worry about not triggering people and such. Encyclopedia can have all kinds of info, and it does, there are pictures of war attrocities on wikipedia, where wounds are lethal and way larger and bloodier than those. There will always be something what people won't like, some won't like picture of swastica maybe, others won't like war pictures, others won't like pictures of sexual things such as for example erection, which is also on wikipedia. However, thesearticles are watched by a variety of people so common sense rules, and this article seems to be watched mostly by self-injurers, who instead of the encyclopedic value and informational value tends to impose censorship because they are used to this kind of censorship on various self harm support websites, where pictures are eithe rnot allowed or must be accompanied by so-called triggers. But this is encyclopedia, we will never statisfy everybody. And as I said, once someone might upload pics of let's say burns, or better pics of cuts, then these pictures might be deleted. However, almost no articles on wikipedia are complete,there is always room for improvenment, and being not best does not means they should be removed. I'd say they should stay until someone else gets better pictures. And wikipedia is not a gallery of self harm pictures, so it cannot be so that "every type and subtype" would be represented; same as all other places of Wikipedia, it just gives examples. ELse any picture could be deleted: for example, a picture of some chemical rection on the basis taht "sometiems this chemical reaction gives a slightly different color, so there should be pictures of every possible color", picture of some city or town on the basis that "there are other interesting things to take pictures of in this city, there should be pictures of them as well", and so on. DeirYassin 15:04, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Listen, I consider my point made. Revert the page if you insist - if somebody else has an objection, an RfC can be made and our conversation taken into account. --April Arcus 21:31, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)
If you don't mind my saying so, DeirYassin, I disagree with your opinion of most of those who want to impose censorship for censorship's sake. The two illustrations people are adding to this article, one of which distinctly resembles a needle and one a photoshop (a distinct insult in itself), illustrate such a small and rather inaccurate point-of-view of the variety of cutaneous self-harm categories.
Besides which, those pictures, one clearly resembling needle applied to a leg, one a burn to a part of the body with greater surface area (though I can't figure out what), are very misrepresentative of the types and kinds of self-injury at anyone's dispense.
Finally.. yes, these pictures are very triggering. No doubt about it. Those who are researching topics related to this article for whatever reason are the kinds of people to whom the existence of a picture within the article would be very disturbing. All that said, if you disagree with my opinion, please feel free to revert. Bobo.

My 2 cts.: I consider the repeated adding of directly displayed pictures to this page trolling it! There's no need of graphic display to "see what self-harm looks like" There's a clear definition to it: "Direct injury of one's own body that causes tissue damage or leaves marks that last for more than a few minutes". IMHO, insisting on the use of directly displayed pictures shows either a) the lack of qualification to handle such sensitive matter in the required manner, or b) probable bias due to personal motifs which in return are put above the purpose of the entry.

So what are we really discussing here?

  • Rational and scientific documentary of facts (which at times may include having to find other ways to broadcast information)
  • True censorship, meaning by all means suppressing the broadcast of true and/or factual information (which of course is a no-go, hehe I shoulda stated that earlier, eh?)

Or could this in truth be about the known controversy about SI-Photographs and the possible motivations for their use (of which one in fact is further stigmatization of people who self-injure!)

I agree. Whilst I agree with Wikipedia's stance of being against censorship, there is still the question of whether a picture is useful. For example, articles on sex or porn tend not to have graphic pornographic images simply because they can (indeed, a common trend where it's felt pictures are useful is to use drawings - for example, Sexual intercourse). As you say, it's not clear why a picture is needed here.
I'd also say that the picture recently added wasn't just some scars, but was particularly graphic - showing an open bleeding wound with the tool visible. I'm normally okay with seeing self-harm pics, but that makes me quite squeamish; nevermind triggering self-harmers, I'd imagine that plenty of non-self-harmers would find that rather graphic. Mdwh 01:16, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Since this keeps coming up, can we come to some kind of consensus?

I do not object on the grounds of censorship (i.e., that it might be triggering), but I disagree that a picture serves any useful purpose. Regarding DeirYassin's comments above, I do not see how someone could tell a self-injurer just by comparing what the wounds look like - whilst some wounds are obviously self-injury (e.g., repeated straight line cuts), we don't need a picture to point out the obvious.

At the least, the image currently there isn't what I'd consider "typical" (no offence to the person who took it!), and such injuries could conceivably be sustained through some kind of bad accident. Telling that something is self-injury is generally easiest when the cuts are ordered rather than more random (e.g., the typical parallel straight lines), but then not all acts of self-injury take this form.

So what useful purpose does a picture (either this one, or any one) serve? Mdwh 12:30, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps a sreenshot from a movie potraying SI would be useful? It wouldn't have to be entirely accurate, as it just shows the filmmaker's view of it. Also it would note media potrayal, adding to the article. --OGoncho 00:40, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
From the first paragraph of the article "Note that this article focus on repetitive self-harm" Isn't this article supposed to focus on the behavior not the injury itself? It would be hard to sum up the /repetitive behavior/ with a picture. Again, this article is (IMHO) focusing on the psychological behavior of self-harm, and not so much on the act of cutting, burning, ect. -slunky
What about a picture of a cut with healing cuts and scars around it? That would probably sum up the repetitive behavior, or at least it seems to me it would, but that's just me. Loggerisms

Some more 2 cts.: Just to answer the "how to tell a person who self-injure's" bit that keeps popping up with the overrated picture-issues that keeps drawing attention and energy from the more important issue itself. But anyways, here's how to tell a "self-injurer":


And let's face it: To be accurate-most-accurate you'd have to include many pages of in-depth data from professional studies, reports of people who self-injure and so on. But is that what an encyclopedia is supposed to provide? Maybe this article has already gone overboard by stating more than the general facts?

And a quote from the article itself: It may be more accurate to define self-harm based around the intent, and the emotional distress that the person wishes to deal with.

Bravo GilliamJF! Finally, a fitting picture. Hopefully, if nobody else objects, leaving this picture in will stop people from posting gruesome 800x600 images of themselves in this article. -slunky

I find it a nice fit as well. Scars are much better than open wounds. --OGoncho 05:51, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes it's one of the most harmeless pictures posted here. But it still is offensive to some and imho degrades people like me to "freaks with marks". *sigh* Can't you see how this is so very counterproductive? It's like exposing people to bloody frog-intestines in attempt to make 'em understand the wonder of anatomy. It only CAN work as a repellant. :-/

I disagree. It's counterproductive to sink to an edit war and remove discussion topics because you don't like them, and please cut the "people like me" crap, as many editors, such as myself, self-injure too. Try not to speak for groups of people you don't represent. -slunky
I'm pleased slunky that you find the photo appropriate. I borrowed it from it from the German Wikipedia article, which also has one photo at the top of the page. I think one is enough to show the harms of self-mutilation. GilliamJF 03:49, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
In an anatomy article, I'd agree that a simplistic illustration would be far more effective than "bloody frog-intestines". However, in an article about dissection, the intestines are appropriate to the article. This is self-injury, and an image of such injuries is apropriate. --OGoncho 04:55, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
What bloody frog do you mean? I feel that the photo I submitted was tasteful, and that such a photo is needed (especially considering the length of the article). I would like to restore the photo. GilliamJF 07:09, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
I second this. Let this be THE photo. -slunky
Perhaps I'm exhibiting bias here, after all I have cut and I do find the image triggering... but I'm attempting to view this with an open mind. I guess my question is, what does this image add to the article? Who hasn't had a cut somewhere, received by accident, and who doesn't know what one looks like? I believe it would be near impossible, if not completely impossible, to find someone over the age of five years who doesn't know what a cut looks like. And if that's the case, I don't see this image adding a significant amount to the article. People could already imagine with a high degree of accuracy what it looks like if they wish to. Also, if we are going to have pictures, why not exhibit other types of self-injury as well? Burning for instance would at least be common enough to warrant inclusion... I guess my point is that if anyone can present logical reasoning for a photo being necessary, I'll support keeping it here. If not, I'll have to consider myself to be against having a photo like the one shown here. ZoeF 08:48, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
While I don't think the article needs a picture at all, having one would put it to rest, and having this one would hinder other people from dropping very graphic pictures in this article. Compare this one with the last one or the one before. If you want something a little less triggering, feel free to draw up an illustration. I'm all for that. -slunky
Must we emphasise the repetitive behaviour? I'm still not fond of that as a picture, but on the positive side, at least this picture, unlike the previous one, is real and not photoshopped. I'm going to remove it for now, and link it to the image page itself, because it's a particularly sensitive image, but if it's put back, I won't re-revert it at the moment. I've written "click here for an example of..", then I've bolded the fact that it is actually self-harming behaviour. I'm just not fond of seeing the picture directly used in the article so suddenly (adding that to the prior talk about usefulness of individual pictures in the circumstance). Bobo. 04:56, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the majority of the users here debating are (or have relation to) self-injurers, which means bias. Perhaps we should make a Request for Comment as previously suggested, and see what other Wikipedians think? --OGoncho 07:01, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
I certainly believe that the picture we used in this article is a lot better than the one we had in there before, so though I'd rather have no picture than a picture in the article, at least the picture we have most recently added serves more of a purpose. I just don't know if most people need to know what "scars on an arm" look like (regardless of how they've been created). What do you think of the current solution, OGoncho? Bobo. 17:12, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

I think having a link to a picture is better... but i still dont see the need to have a picture at all. I mean people know what cuts/scars look like. It doesn't look any different to if it was accidental. The picture doesn't improve understanding or anything. If somebody really wanted it they could search for a picture on a search engine or something. It is just highlighting the fact that some people think its only "freaks" that do it. DinB 13:09, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

As far as I'm concerned, DinB, you may feel free to remove it, then. If you were to delete it, I will not insert it back into the article. Bobo. 05:37, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
No its ok.... its a good compromise, and i suppose that some people may want to see a picture. (i dont know why) and you've triggered it accordingly so all is well :) DinB 09:33, 15 April 2006 (UTC)



"In New Zealand, more females are hospitalised for intentional self-harm than males. Females more commonly choose methods such as self-poisoning that generally are not fatal, but still serious enough to require hospitalization."

I don't believe there's much value in quoting specific stats like this, and although it appears fact based, there's a leaning towards bias with the insinuation that people are trying to come close to suicide without actually dying; do you see what I mean? Can we just delete this superfluous para?

I agree. It is unclear whether these statistics are based on self-harmers who are hospitalised, or those people who attempt suicide. Furthermore, I don't see that the earlier statistics ("The average European rate of self-harm and attempted suicide") tell us anything useful about rates of self-harm, since they group self-harm together with attempted suicide. Although many people who attempt suicide are also self-harmers, it is not true that self-harmers are likely to attempt suicide. I fear that this section just perpetuates the myth that self-harmers are likely to go on to commit suicide, and ignores the fact that many if not most self-harmers do not require hospitalisation.
It would be nice to have some statistics on self-harmers in general, or if not, I think it should be made clear that statistics based on those hospitalised probably only represent a small proportion of all self-harmers. Mdwh 01:58, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

A bit more on demographics - a good study is Meltzer et. al. (2000) an ONS study in the UK. This used the question "Have you ever deliberately harmed yourself, but not with the intention of killing yourself?". I'm getting this from the Library for an assignemt nd I'll add something in from it. --Acidsaturation 11:43, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

External Links

Personal Comment: I find it a poor-show to see External Links to Forums / Message Boards. These boards are often set up with little thought for how to deal with difficult situations, and are often set up by kids who have signed up for a free forum, and 'just do it' - These forums won't last very long, and can cause harm to people.

I'm all for linking to websites and support sites, but Forums? Please.

Can we just delete Forum links, unless it's an established forum like BUS?

BUS has to be one of the most unstable, unhelpful and unsafe forums out there and is not a forum I would recommend anyone going to, in fact I would advise anyone to avoid BUS

    • The Self Injury Abuse and Trauma Directory is now replaces by SIARI - the former is shuutting down and so SIARI becomes the main focus.

Also, ShardOnline has been removed due to lack of content and lack of updates.

The list of external links is getting quite long. What does everyone think of a cleaning of it? Now forums, commercial ventures (don't try to tell me selling orange ribbons isn't commercial), single and two page sites, and repetative information dominate it now. I will be removing my site during it's reconstruction. -slunky

I've cleaned out about half of the external links, here are my reasons for removing the sites I did.

  • NMHA - Organization website, one page with information on self-harm
  • NSHN - Organization website, little information on Self-harm
  • Samaritans - While they do provide a lot of support to self-injurers, their site has one paragraph on self-harm
  • SIS - Organization website, no real info on self-harm, more about the organization than usable info.
  • SHARD - I'll assume we all already know why this one's going.
  • SOS - Site is being reconstructed to provide more unique information on self-injury.
  • SI Understood - Two pages with no unique content.
  • - Organization website, little self-harm info.
  • SH Depression and Ignorance - While slightly interesting, provides no facts about self-harm.

I have left websites that provide a wealth of information on self-injury, and/or are well known and respected self-harm communities. I think this sets a good standard for what should be on this list, and what should not. When a links list is cluttered, it's harder to find a site that is outstanding. -slunky

i think any site relevant to SI, that has the potential to provide people with information has the right to be on there (including iout) and i don't see why people keep removing them. Ok forums with no actual site attached to them shouldn't be there, but all others i think are important. Shouldn't the aim of external links to provide as many helpful sites as possible so that its up to the individula which one they visit, i mean what someone thinks is a good site could really not appeal to someone else. DinB 16:38, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

But Wikipedia is not a collection of links. Whilst it's good to add extra information, if we allow any site relevant to SI, then we risk having an ever-increasing list of links. Mdwh 17:55, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
Seconded. Expecially when the websites regurgitate the same information. If I set up thirty SI websites with my articles in them, should I link to them all from this page? They're relevant right? and more is better right? -slunky
But what about the ones that dont just "regurgitate information" the ones that give useful, different information compared with others? DinB 17:40, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
They are in there. Put a new site up that does, and you'll see that it stays. However, if it's the same old same old "what is si", list of alternetives, and a bulletin board it will be removed because it's already there. There is nothing unique on iout that would pertain to this article. slunky
Despite being a victim of Slunky's regime, me being the founder of I will reluctantly have to agree. If wikipedia becomes a list of links, it becomes a search engine. If a site has truly useful information, the information should be added to the page in question with a reference to the source link. I'm not sure that some of the others should be there as 'respected site' is a very personal opinion. I do feel that NSHN should be added, they have done a lot of work which the site doesn't reflect and are a registered charity which few of the others are... They're also lovely people :) But yes, overall, wikipedia should ideally be a standalone site rather than venture into the realms of search engine...Slicksps

Hey there, sorry if this is in the wrong place, I just wanted to point out that Louise Pembroke's name is spelt wrong (only one 'o') in the refrences section. Also I added Self Harm Sanctuary in the external links. Sorry if I did anything wrong. Omega Xi 01:14, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the correction on Louise Pembroke, I've fixed it. As for external links, as you can see from the discussion above, we try to keep the list to sites which have some significant information on self-harm, and try to avoid adding just forum sites (otherwise we'll have a huge list). Mdwh 01:28, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Okay, this being the case I will try and state my reasoning a little, Self Harm Sanctuary as it stands is one of the only places on the internet that is tackling issues such as harm minimisation and activism, trying to change the systems from within. I added it to the list because I think it is a significant site and not just another forum. While I will admit, it is still a little under construction, it does contain information unavailable at the rest of the sites in the list. I do appologise though, I should have discussed it here first. Sorry. I would also like to suggest that it's not always good to just help well established sites get bigger, do fledgling sites not deserve a chance also? Omega Xi 01:51, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Where is a link for the "information unavailable at the rest of the sites in the list" (or the activism or other issues it is tackling)? I was only able to find the forum. As for fledgling sites, (a) Wikipedia is not a place for promoting fledgling sites, and (b) there must be large numbers of fledgling self-harm forums, we can't include them all. And I don't see how we're helping the established sites - forum sites like Bodies Under Siege aren't included either. The other links at least have some articles/info on self-harm, and aren't just forums. Mdwh 02:12, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I understand sorry. I really do feel that Self Harm Sanctuary offers discussion and information (sadly currently in stickies within the boards, we're still working on the site itself) that isn't offered by any of the sites currently in the list. Perhaps the site can go in the list when it is more complete. Btw, please try not to be so harsh about it in future. --Omega Xi 02:22, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Can someone please tell me why every time is added it is removed? It seems to meet all of the criteria, and all of the discussions here. I would just like to know why.

American Statistics

Does anyone know the corospondig American statistics to the European ones printed?

      1. No I don't sorry; more research needed then? Stats are incredibly poor anyway, I have little faith in numbers regarding this hidden affliction.

Can you contact the American Clearing House and see if they know? Is there a national Suicide Helpline that may record stats of people calling about self harm? ###

Not unless they record stats which differentiate between intentional suicide attempts and SI. Remember that suicidal thoughts and SI may be co-occurant, but are not mutually exclusive. I also have little faith in statistics at this time. I feel SI is where anorexia was 20+ years ago and still too taboo even for professionals, except for those on the "cutting edge" (pardon the pun). over a decade ago I didn't even know there was a name for it and thought I was the only one. Kids today are more fortunate, but we are still a long way from reliable statistics or a culture of empathy and understanding for cutters. Khirad 23:02, 5 September 2005 (UTC)


I'm wondering if it's really ok that the majority of this article is taken verbatim from the LifeSIGNS Self Injury Awareness Booklet? Even though it is a part of the footnotes, I don't think that it's right to quote the lines, "A person may be detached from himself or herself, detached from life, numb and unfeeling. They may then recognise the need to function more, or have a desire to feel real again, and a decision is made to create sensation and ‘wake up’." from the very same source, but then have entire sections taken directly and not notated at all.

I guess I'm pretty green on this topic, but I've noticed similiar things happening on other wikipedia articles as well. --mlaird1

If you think there is a problem you can add a Copyvio tag to the page and list it for potential deletion. Exploding Boy 18:44, 3 November 2005 (UTC)


About three years ago, I went through a phase of cutting. I thought that perhaps I could comment and help reinforce part of the psychology section of the article.

In paragraph one, it says, "One theory states that self-injury is a way to "go away" or dissociate, separating the mind from the feelings that are causing the anguish. This is done by tricking the mind into believing the pain felt at the time is caused by self-injury instead of the issues they were facing before." - This was something I did in order to relieve myself of an unknown sense of immense frustration, my brain would seem to forget the frustration and work on relieving the pain I had just caused. Paragraph seven is also a reason I had cut. I found out later that the relief I felt was an endorphin rush. That explained why the relief I received from cutting only lasted a couple of hours, necessitating the need to cut later on.

It's a scary thing to go through. After I had gotten out of a psychiatric hospital for treatment, my psychiatrist prescribed me propranolol which she said would help curb the urge to induce self-harm. Worked like a charm, and now that I'm past that I've been using it as part of my treatment for anxiety problems.

I don't know if this will help any, but I figured it might. - Richardevan at 10:35, 16 November 2005

One thing I have in my expiriance that was kind of glossed over here was the fact that cutting takes a certain level of focus. By focusing so hard on what you are doing, it becomes a way for the mind to focus on something else to relieve some of the pressure. After a while, it becomes trance-like in the way it feels. That sense of control of my mind is why I started, as I have felt for a while now that my brain is too full of problems. I have learned to manage my problems though by expressing myself in other ways like dance. It takes a simmilar ammount of strength, and just floating on the music is very stress-releaving.~MorticiasLegacy

Your are in the army now, you're in the army

The important military aspects of this topic should be discussed. Many young males tried to evade the draft or conscription by way of self-harm.

In the Napoleonic wars, many people had their upper front teeth pulled, because these teeth were required to tear open the paper cartridges which were used with muzzle-load rifles of the era, so they would be deemed unfit for service. Authorities countered by beating off ALL 32 TEETH of people who tried doing this tricks...

Also, in the soviet WWII novel "Volokalamsk Highway" by A. Beck, brigade commander Momisuli Baurdzhan assembles a firing squad to execute a private, who shot through his arm to escape combat. 15:18, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Though it should be noted that one-off major acts of mutilation are generally considered different to repetitive acts of less severe self-harm. Certainly, I have no objections to including this aspect, though the distinction should probably be noted. See the table at Mdwh 01:28, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Agent Alpha: I object. The intent of SI is crucial. The Act of Injuring the Self is not what this article is about. This article is about Self Injury, which, while difficult to define in absolute terms, it is agreed to be a form of coping mechanism to deal with emotional and mental distress. The act of injurying the self as described above, refers to causing damage to the body in order to manipulate external events, not to alleviate internal stress. Please lets not confuse the already difficult subject of SI with these stories of pulling teeth and shootings in the foot to avoid war.

I agree with Agent Alpha. This information would be better suited for another type of article.-slunky
To believe that having that as the definition of self-harm means we must change the definition section to say that in can only refer to that. Currently it seems to say that that is only a portion of self-harm. So, if you truly believe that, fix it, if not, we must allow in this information. Loggerisms 05:22, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps this article should be moved to Self-harm (psychology) or some such and have Self-harm be a general topic? --OGoncho 09:41, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

OK, here's a good way to look at it, this article is about self-harm, not just self-injury. It says "Strictly, self-harm is a general term for self-damaging activities (which could include alcohol abuse, bulimia, etc)." How is shooting yourself in the arm to avoid service less self-harm than bulimia? They both don't follow your coping mechanism thing. Here's my thoughtː we take self-injury, make it its own article, talk about this army stuff, bulimia, alcoholism, whatever, on this page, and then take all your coping mechanism talk, and use that on the self-injury page. But right now, this article is self-harm, and that is self-harm, I don't see any reason not to put it here.Loggerisms 01:01, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

But bulimia and alcohol abuse aren't covered in this article - they're just mentioned as examples of what self-harm could also mean. I don't have any objections to including "shooting yourself in the arm to avoid service" as an example in that list, although we should be wary of covering it in detail in this section, simply because it is sufficiently different and would do better in it's own article - just as it would be pointless to put alcohol abuse and eating disorders here, when they are better off on their own pages.
I agree that "self-injury" should be the only thing covered in its article - though whilst I think "self-injury" (as well as "deliberate self-harm") are more accurate terms, it's not clear they solve the problem here, as examples of shooting yourself to avoid service are clearly examples of injury.
I don't mind too much if the army stuff starts off here, if it has no better place to go, but the distinctions should be made clear. Then maybe it can be moved to a new article of its own.
So in summary: keep this page for self injury in the context which it currently covers, with a brief mention of the more general meanings of self harm. If someone wants to move this to something like "self injury" or "deliberate self harm", I'd support that. "Army stuff" can maybe start off here, but I'd rather it ultimately has an article of its own. If someone wants a general page covering all aspects of "self harm" (self injury, drug abuse, eating disorders, avoiding service), then I think it's better to create a new page rather than changing this one - but we should be careful of needlessly duplicating material that's already in the more specific articles. Mdwh 01:46, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Yes, we should move this to self injury, with a redirect from deliberate self harm or vice versa, and this page should be general self harm, because what makes more sense than the information on general self-harm being on the self-harm page?Loggerisms 05:04, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Self-Injury Awareness Day

As far as I know, SIAD is not a recognised by any body, and is about as official as the black or blue ribbon campaign, as well as after checking a few other health related articles, none contain mention of specific awareness days. I would suggest we remove this section, or expand it to a more general self-harm awareness section that would make mention if SIAD. I'll keep my personal feelings on SIAD to myself. -slunky

Yes, it's no more "official" than anything like the black or blue ribbon campaign, or many other awareness days or campaigns, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be mentioned at all (just as the campaign you mention has its own article). The day is arguably fairly notable - it made the BBC's Newsnight programme, for example. I've got nothing against expanding it into a general awareness section, though. Mdwh 04:26, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Agent Alpha: Can we say for certain that the American Clearing House started SIAD? What references do we have for that fact? SIAD is not official in many countries, and that is a fact that we can state, but it does not divest SIAD of any of it's cultural / community importance. SIAD is as real as people make it. I do worry that we will argue about blummin Ribbon Colours though!
Their website [2] states "ASHIC's main project to date has been National Self-Injury Awareness Day" - I suppose it could mean that they publicised it rather than originally picking the date. Either way, I feel they should have some mention here as doing a lot of work to promote it - I don't mind if someone wants to reword it to mention this, without explicitly saying who started it. Note that the ASHIC site appears to be somewhat out of date now (referring to 2002), so it looks like they are no longer active in promoting it. I could try to contact Deb Martinson (who ran ASHIC) to find out more.
I agree about its cultural / community importance - indeed, this section was originally started as a sub-section to "Cultural / Community", and I think that was probably intentional (judging by the comment "began sub-section", though Slunky reverted it, possibly thinking it to be a mistake (again, by the comment "COrrected markup") - possibly it should go back to being a sub-section under "Culture / Community"? Mdwh 16:49, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

I've taken the initiative to begin the SI Awareness sub-section, I tried to include SIAD primarily in this. As far as the origins of SIAD, the earliest reference I could find of it is on an archive of on Oct 26, 2001, but refers to Self-Injury Awareness Day 2000. [[3]] -Slunky

Agent Alpha: *I* began the SI Awareness Sub-section as Mdwh noted; if Slunky and others prefer to call it the Self-harm section, fine, but I would find it more logical if we called it Self Injury Awareness, to work along side the SIAD acronym. I have no strong thoughts on who started SIAD, other than what I've said about cultural relevance above, so if we want to reference ASHCH, fine, but they don't seem to have been active for a very long time. Would be great if Deb Martinson could give her opinion, but does Deb answer emails?

Excuse me? You started the section? Perhaps you started the section on SIAD, but I expanded it into the general SI Awareness section. Take a look at the history, bud. Don't take credit for my work. I don't take credit for yours. As far as Ms Martinson is concerned, I've tried to contact her before via e-mail. No luck. With regards, slunky.

Agent Alpha: I see the history, and I hear that you feel you started this section. Best regards as always.

Hello there, forgive my bad manners, but this is my very first time ever adding to wikipedia.

Two things: 1. S.I.A.D. is at least officially recognised in New Mexico:

2. According to information from this file The S.I.A.D. Campaing (back then called NSIAD (nationalSIAD) was held in 2000 for the second time and was started by what I understand to be the Clearinghouse's predecessor "Self-Injury: HOPE". Quote: "Self-Injury: HOPE members met through an Internet e-mail support group [Deb] Martinson started in 1996..."

You people did a great job with the entire entry! As an individual living with SI I appreciate it greatly. One thing I'd like you to keep in mind when it comes to ommiting information or links is that we can use all the help we can get , what looks useless to others might just be what we're looking for. Peace and thanks an awful lot!!!!

On the part with about self-injury, I see something about "widest known movement" or something like that. I'm just wondering if this is really true, since I've never heard about it personally. Also, it looks like the official ribbon color is red and black. Jon Fawkes 21:40, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Added a bit more info on ribbons/bracelets and their meanings, refferences aren't the best as I was unable to find the original source. I think this section still needs a bit more expansion, is anyone able to contribute further? Snowy 10:55, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately forum comments are not reliable sources. I've reworded it a bit, but to be honest I think all we can say is that orange and red/black may be used, without assigning any more specific meaning to them. The problem is that many people have their own pet list of what colours should mean much, and posting that on a message board can be done by anyone. In fact note that even on the list [4], there is disagreement as to whether orange+white is used for a self-injurer, or only concerned parties; same for white. Even if forums were reliable sources, there's not much of a consensus there... Mdwh 11:58, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

"Possible Motivations" as a sub-section

I think there should be a "Possible Motivations" sub-category listed under the "Psychology" section. I would suggest the possible motivations be listed in bullet-form for simplicity's sake. To reinforce the idea which I hoped to be communicated through the title "Possible motivations," the last bullet should explain how the psychological cause of such self-mutilation may not be any of the listed reasons; something to point out the diversity of motives within this category.

Another idea would be to simply change the name of "Psychology" [the entire category] to "Possible Motivations" and put all the pre-existing factoids in bullet form [what is discussed under the "Psychology" section are possible motivations anyways]. The title would be more politically correct since it announces beforehand that nothing listed is definite. Likewise, keeping the original title ("Psychology") and adding a disclaimer [emphasizing that what is listed are merely possible motivations] immediately following the title would be suitable.

1) Bullet-form ideas for better presentation & understanding
2) Emphasis on how the listed reasons/motivations are just possibilities
3) Possible title change of "Psychology"

1)I don't think bulleting the article would make it any better presentational wise. Paragraphs explaining each motivation would be more worthwhile for the reader. Bulleted items would leave out crucial information. 2)Since many of the editors of this article have first hand experience behind self injury motivations, it's not just a possibility, the motivations are reality. We aren't just musing on why someone would harm themself. 3)I think changing the title of Psychology would beabig mistake, and we would lose a lot of important information cutting it down to summarized bullets. -slunky

I agree with this idea about adding motivations - I'm waiting on a text from the Library that reports of meta-research by Hawton and Van Heerington who provide a complied list of motivations. I'll have a look at adding this in unless anyone objects. I would suggest a bulleted list, taken from this source and then much of the rest of the section expands on this. I've got a few more bits to do with the psychology from research I have done for an assignment so I'll have a look at what I could add - I know there's some ideas from psychodynamic theory that are interesting, though obviously subject the the criticisms of that model. --Acidsaturation 11:40, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Pain sensation and self-harm

I noted that just one sentence in this article makes reference to the fact that self-harmers may experience diminished sensation of pain during the act of self-harming. I am by no means an expert on this, but I am aware that there is considerable concern in the 'self-harm community' that this may lead to certain misconceptions.

Firstly, it may lead readers to assume that self-harmers do not feel physical distress in the act of self-harming. Some of us do.

Secondly, there is concern that medical staff dealing with self-harmers are occasionally very unsympathetic, and there are reports that self-harming people have been treated for their injuries without anaesthetic or any pain relief. These stories may have been elevated into myth, for all I know, but it seems fairly important not to perpetuate this assumption, given the following:

Thirdly, I think that there are some medical articles which suggest that self-harmers may feel heightened sensitivity to pain e.g. to headaches, everyday bumps and bruises etc. Again, I'm not sure of the genesis of this idea, but perhaps someone out there knows?

I haven't ever edited Wikipedia so I'm reluctant to wade in on a very sensitive topic. Perhaps if there are strong feelings on this issue I could take them into account before attempting an edit? --Dim 13:30, 18 April 2006

Hopefully my edit makes this more reasonable. I changed it to "some", which should make it clear that this doesn't apply to all self-injurers. Regarding points two and three, I removed the sentence which could imply that self-injurers are insensitive to pain in general. The anecdotal evidence I've come across here only refers to lack of pain felt during the act itself, and so ought not be assumed to apply to pain felt at other times (though maybe this should be made explicitly clear?) Mdwh 22:07, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. I think that's much better. And I think that, all in all, this is a pretty good treatment of a very tricky subject. --Dim 13:27, 24 April 2006

Removed sections

I've removed the following to here - I'm happy to discuss this, but this is totally POV, and uncited. Basically this is telling people how to treat/react to self harm - I really don't think this is the place to make an Imperitive to "call the cops" or "that it is vital that a professional [...] be contacted". The idea about re-enforcement comes strongly from one POV (that of attention seeking) which a number of studies challenge. Can we discuss re-writing this?

Removed: "In other words: Under the law, professionals have to intervene when someone is suicidal even if the person does not want help; Professionals will intervene when someone asks for help even when not suicidal; Professionals cannot intervene (over and above asking the person if they want help and if they are suicidal), even if the behavior would be harmful to the person unless the person states that they are suicidal or want help.

This information is helpful for friends and family to know so that can help thier loved ones get help. I.E. if they are suicidal and don't want help, call the cops; If they want to self-injure and want help; call a mental health professional; If they want to self-injure and don't want help, talk to them to see if you can convince them to get help (if you are comfortable doing so)."

Removed "Self-harm is more common than many people realise, especially in adolescents under stress. People who self-harm often feel a great amount of guilt as it is, so when encountering or discovering self-harm it is vital that support and understanding be shown, for the good of all involved. It is also vital that a professional with knowledge in both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and DBT be contacted as soon as possible because, otherwise, family and friends could inadvertently be reinforcing the behaviors they mean to stop. For some people, particularly those with borderline personality disorder, the attention they get, whether negative or positive, can be reinforcing and can potentially lead to increases in incidents of self-harm." Acidsaturation 07:16, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Hi, I've had a look at the material that you have removed and I'm in complete agreement. I'm still concerned about this paragraph in the 'Definition' of self-harm
"It is important to note that for the purposes of law enforcement, health professionals and mental health professionals, self-harm is defined by intent and is not viewed as a suicide attempt unless the person states that they intended to kill themselves. This information is important for friends and family members to know because it means that the person can cut themself, burn themself, hit themself, drink to excess, use drugs, etc. even to the point that it may be extremely dangerous to the person, and health/law enforcement/mental health professionals will not be able to intervene unless the person either asks for intervention, or says that they intended to kill themself/are suicidal. Medical professionals can intervene to stabilize someone medically if they become unconscious, but cannot provide, or have anyone provide mental health intervention unless the person says they are suicidal."
This seems to suggest that self-harm bears a very close relationship to suicide attempts. Whilst popular perception might view self-harm as a kind of half-hearted form of suicidal behaviour, the two are most often not linked. These sentences throw up a bit of a white elephant, I think - by invoking the idea of 'suicide', the article is now currently reinforcing the link between the two behaviours.
It also suggests that excessive drinking is a form of self-harm. This clouds the distinction between behaviours which may cause harm to the body e.g. drinking, smoking, over-exercisign, etc. and behaviours which are undertaken with the primary aim of causing physical injury.
In addition, I imagine that this relates to U.S. law and practise, and isn't indicated as such. This information would be far more relevant on the Suicide page.
I hope this explains why I'll be trying to re-work this paragraph.
--Dim 13:43, 24 April 2006
I agree - I've deleted it. It doesn't say what countries/states this applies too, and I'm not really convinced this is true anywhere in the US or UK. Mdwh 22:44, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Reckon you're right. I've found a little on UK guidelines and practice regarding sectioning in relation to self-harm. When I start on the citations job I may slip this in if it fits anywhere appropriate. Its very unclear in reality. Acidsaturation 13:10, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

References and Citations

Getting sorted at last!

I've changed to cite.php (for the moment - I'd really like it to be Harvard, but this is closest to what we have so far and probably the easiest way to get on with this.)

I'll be going through section by section (essays permitting) and geting them referenced.

I'll also tidy the psychology section a wee bit whilst referencing and add in some (referenced from studies) ideas/risk factors/motives.

Have a look at my talk page if you have any suggestions/ideas. Acidsaturation 13:05, 26 April 2006 (UTC)


I have been having a bit of a rewrite of this whilst getting the references in, in order to add some more info - the (ever changing draft is at User:Acidsaturation/notebook#Psychology_section_in_progress if anyone wants a look. Acidsaturation 17:15, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

I find "To die" to be an odd inclusion. Would not suicide be a different thing altogether? --OGoncho 19:08, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree. That whole list to me looks like PERCEIVED reasons for self-injury, not real or intentional reasons at all. The term "survivor" doesn't really fit well. How would one not survive? Self-injury usually doesn't end in death, and you wouldn't consider someone who quits smoking a "survivor". -slunky

The list is from one of the major medical textbooks - I thought it was pretty clear that these are medical assesments, to contrast personal opinions given in much of the rest of the section. But if someone feels they can word it better that's cool. I'd be reluctant to remove "to die" as it is a direct citation. For the same reason I think the comment (Believed that physical pain can help distract from the emotional pain) ought to be elsewhere - (as it is) else the citation is not correct.

Re "survivor" - that's actually the accepted term in social work disciplines and much of the "survivor led" research and commentry such as Pembrooke and Spandler. It is also the term used in the book that the quote is from. "Self-harmer" (as mentioned at the top of this page) is NOT considered acceptable terminology - unless that is the terminology a survivor self-defines as. I plan to change this (when I have the book in front of me to get the date to: "a speaker at (the conference that it was presented at)" This avoids the issue then and is totally non-loaded terminology. Opinions?? Acidsaturation 12:59, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

"Accepted term" is purely objective. I don't run into the term very often, so it's nt all that accepted. Just my opinion. You asked for it. -Slunky
Fair opinion - Wouldn't have asked if I'm not happy to hear! I reckon any term being "accepted" is going to be objective. The main reason I used the term is that it was the term most used in the source text, though it's the term I've heard used most as someone has both worked extensively in the area and have personal experience of my own.
Really not keen on "self-harmer" though. I know thats my opinion and maybe 'cos I'm bogged down in writing about labelling and stigma at the moment, but I think that that just creates an identity where the self-harm is the primary identifier. Sorry if I came across grumpy before - didn't mean to! Acidsaturation 20:13, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually I realise that changing to "self-harmer" is misleading, if this is someone who no longer self-harms (as "survivor" would imply).
I agree we should avoid labels, but that's also why I dislike survivor. I've heard the term, though more in the context of abuse, and not self-harm. Also, even if it is a medically accepted definition for those who have self-harmed(?), it hasn't been defined in this article.
So how about my new change to "from someone who self-harmed"? This avoids labelling anyone, and states the facts. Alternatively we could leave it as simply "by this quote:" - it ought to be self-evident that the person had self-harmed. Mdwh 21:48, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
I reckon the latter - "by this quote". As you said the context makes it obvious and that makes no assumptions. I've also just clarified the medical perspective issue and I hope the next paragraph about assesment also helps make this clear. Acidsaturation 08:06, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Removed from psyc section after study on motives entry: "However, this theory is flawed, as most people who self-harm try to hide their injuries." From personal expereance I agree, but you need a source to back this if you want to use it as a counter to a published work.Nate1481 11:18, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

citation would be good

it would be good to see a section titled self-injury and suicide or perhaps just a citation in reference as to how self-injury and suicide are of a different nature... i suggest this one, although unfortunately i can no-longer remember where i found it:

The assumption is that the alternative to self-injury is "acting normally," but on the contrary . . . the alternative to self-injury is total loss of control and possibly suicide. It becomes a forced choice from among limited options. Solomon and Farrand (1996)


Is self-harm any sort of intentional self injury, or only a kind stress reducer used by people suffering depression? Is causing yourself pain for sexual pleasure an entirely different thing? If anyone could clear this up for me it would be great.

There is no "official" definition of self-harm, and no diagnosis for it. The term self-injury tends to not include any possible intentional self-injury, in that at the least it tends to not include situations where it isn't a problem for the person, such as scarification/bodyart). Note that it is more than being used by people suffering from depression - many self-injurers don't have depression, but they still use it to control feelings or reduce stress.
There is the question of what you mean by "entirely different thing" - viewed as differently? Caused by different things? Whilst someone who self-injures for sexual pleasure and does so in a way that doesn't cause problems for themselves probably wouldn't be considered a "self-injurer" by many, you could still argue that they can encounter the same problems, such as becoming addicted to self-injury, having scars, or possibly needing hospital treatment (indeed, consider that anyone needing hospital treatment for intentionally self-inflicted wounds would be counted as a self-injurer in the statistics, whatever their reason).
Unfortunately I can't really give a better answer, just my speculation and personal experience - I'd be curious to know if there is any research into comparing self-injury with pain for sexual pleasure. Mdwh 11:22, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
I believe that in order to understand what is self injury and what is not self injury, we could look at the intention behind the act. I believe self injury, as covered by this article, refers to the coping-mechanism, whereas injury-to-one's-self as found in BDSM / blade-play is for the purposes of sexual pleasure. I would like to keep these two areas seperate. 10:42, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Historical, Ritual, Religion?

Can there be some links for historical, ritual, and religious self-mutilation, such as Maya bloodletting? I don't know most of the groups that do that, andI'd like to be able to find them easily, and here seems like a good place to put that stuff. 19:45, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Blood Letting

Should we perhaps make mention of a very common motiff within Self-Injury consisting of the desire to feel or see blood, or bleed in general? I've worked with and known many people who SI and I've found this to often times be a prominent part of the act of self-injury. The purpose revolves around feeling alive, the facination of one's mortality, or the same reason as they would cut.

Comments? Suggestions?

By all means put something up about it! -slunky
There is a little about it in the psychology section. This does still need a bit of tidying and citations, so go for it - add it in see what you can add... Acidsaturation 14:46, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Culture / Community

I would like to see this paragraph deleted:

"Anecdotally, there are self harmers who state that it is easier for them to identify other self harmers than the average person would be able to, much as one who has been through other types of emotional distress can recognize the subtle cues given off by others who suffer the same affliction."

Using the word 'anecdotally' doesn't validate this pseudo-scientific fancy; I would appreciate a citation or some decent data, but I do not have faith in this sentiment. Would such a paragraph be appropriate in an article about child-abuse or rape?

I have not deleted it as I'm hoping to be educated by some decent citations, but in all my studies I have never seen this claim validated. 10:38, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

I have no evidence but there's bound to be at least some sort of 'community'. Communities exist over anything. Skinnyweed 11:40, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Hello Skinnyweed; I'm not sure what you are commenting about; I'm only talking about the single paragraph as I've quoted above - I'm not querying the whole sub-section. 14:26, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

picture, again

Alright, 72.154, let's talk about this rather than continuing to revert each other. Why do you feel linking is necessary? Who do you feel is 'defending their pet edit'? Why do you think an article with no picture of self-harm is better than one with a picture? What does ANYBODY else think about this, since the article belongs to neither of us? -- nae'blis (talk) 22:30, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Cutter chicks are pretty cool. They take better care of their body. Can we have a section on hottie cutters?

The article has nothing to do with whether or not people find self-harmers attractive, so I don't think it would really add value to the article. --OGoncho 08:07, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

I've given my 2 cts. above and meanwhile am willing to abandon this place and leave it to those quarrelling about a silly pic (no offense to the photographer or the person pictured), but nonetheless as you're asking for other opinion's too:

- SI contains many forms of injury: That alone is reason enough to not include a pic at all! As it's only logically that no single pic can ever represent all ways of SI.

- To make people who selfinjure visible to "the public" (which doesn't care btw.) by handing them a single reference image is useless for the same reason. Plus the risk to make those who engage in selfharming behaviour subject to harassment is higher than providing that they get help (which takes professionals anyway, no?) And as one user lowers himself to comparing selfinjury to the holocaust why not compare posting images to making people who selfinjure wear a certain patch or number? Oh my, what's next?

- Another thing is that part of an image's meaning comes from the person looking at it. People who selfinjure usually know what it looks like, so they don't need a pic. And most often people who not know about it react with disgust, just as they do when exposed to "normal" wounds or scars. Any way a picture will not have the effect we'd like it to have. Anyone who tried to explain his or her inner turmoil by simply showing the scars knows it doesn't work, no?

- As mentioned above (and in the article itself) SelfInjury is defined not by the chosen way of harm but by the intention and underlying problem that lets people chose that coping strategy. Which again renders pictures useless, which (I'm guessing here) probably is the reason why professional works (e.g. Favazza) usually don't contain pictures at all. And that's where I think the idea of wiki as a serious and reliable encyclopedia is being taken ad absurdum through that fight about a single image.

I think the unspoken (personal, private) reasons for using an image are the same as those for not using one: It's you, not the cause, not wiki, not even the forwarding of knowledge, just your inner self (using the term "Your ego" might be misleading!) (hope this time it'll sign my post...) Darn! - 13:26, 22 June 2006 (UTC) (Ah I see, another language, needs another account) Oh and btw. re-adding the picture right AFTER the article WITHOUT IT has had a peer review AND has been listed as a good article is, I dunno... Cheap? A Foul play? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I would prefer not to see a picture - I agree that both arguments are persuasive. 15:32, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
If it had been removed immediately before the GA nomination and added back afterwards, you might have a point, but I don't see that it was. By that logic, it's "foul play" to make any changes to an article after it's been marked as a Good Article. If you feel this no longer qualifies as a Good Article, then delist it or ask for a review as stated above. As for Peer Review, when was there one of those anytime recently? Mdwh 22:36, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

So, can we take that as an expression of you agreeing to all the other arguments? - 09:47, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Which of us are you referring to? Mdwh 11:10, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

unsourced and POV information removed

I removed a considerable amount of POV, OR, opinions, and uncited/unsourced medical claims from the article. chose to revert it, stating "removing such a significant chunk of the page was too destructive. Can we wait for some citations before annihilating all that stuff?" The answer is absolutely not: it wouldn't matter so much if this were an article on dog food or something, but you cannot, cannot, cannot have unsourced, uncited and misleading information regarding medical/safety/health matters. For a subject as important as this, medical advice and claims MUST be properly and responsibly sourced. wikipediatrix 14:27, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Out of interest, which information do you find "misleading" rather than simply unsourced? Mdwh 15:20, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
Hi Mdwh.... most of the text I deleted was written in a tone that seemed overly slanted to a self-cutter's POV, to the point where it even seemed to endorse it. The first two paragraphs below ("Self-harm is also a way..." and "Also, some people are soothed...") are written in language that seems to promote the positive benefits of self mutilation. I think it's irresponsible to do so from the Wiki-narrator's standpoint - if one can find a source that says these same things, that's fine, but we need to make it crystal clear that some outside source is saying these things, not Wikipedia. wikipediatrix 18:59, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
I think that we should say something about "Culture / Community" - certainly such sites exist, even if we need to trim some material as being speculation or unsourced. Also I don't see what's wrong with "It is not universally recognised, but it is a well known date within the grass-roots movement of self-injury awareness."? Mdwh 15:20, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree a "Culture / Community" section is necessary and would love see a well-sourced, non-POV one. I removed the bit about SIAD being "well known within the grass-roots movement" because I don't know whether it's true or not. wikipediatrix 18:59, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
I would like to state that I feel these recent editorial cuts have been harsh and overly zealose. I just wanted to say that so that there was a voice that said "I thought it was a 'Good Article' already", before these large cuts. 14:04, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree. While this is a mental health issue, it is also one that is very personal. I suggest that this article be flagged for attention, namly sourceing for the removed material. Either way, I'll have a look for some supporting material for the removed material, since I do feel that it reflects fact. S.Skinner 20:49, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
If you do get proper medical sources, fine. But the article must clearly reflect that. And much of the text will have to be completely rewritten anyway, because opinionated POV judgments like "usually in a derogatory fashion by the media" won't fly no matter what. Nor will WP:WEASEL language like "Anecdotally, there are self harmers who state..." and WP:OR language like "but it is debatable whether this constitutes...", etc. wikipediatrix 23:12, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

For the "Psychology" section, there's some information with references at , in particular covering "Communication" and "Control" - maybe we could use some of that.

Regarding "Culture / Community", whilst the media do sometimes talk of the Internet and self-injury in a less than positive manner (e.g., BBC's newsnight covered it [5]), the term "culture of self injury" simply doesn't seem to exist [6], so we can't say that. I agree about removing "Anecdotally, there are self harmers who state that it is easier for them to identify other self harmers". Saying "but it is debatable whether this constitutes "a community"" seems completely irrelevant and out of place. Mdwh 16:35, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Removed material

At the least, I'll paste the sections you removed here, so that people can maybe try to find sources for them or discuss whether any material should be returned:

(under Psychology)

Self-harm is also a way for people to relieve the emotional pain of everyday life, especially in the case of teenagers, but not exclusively. People who self-harm may do so with a specific implement or with whatever is convenient to them. In experiencing physical pain, an inflicter of self-harm may seek control; for many, self-harm may be a way to experience a defined sensation rather than amorphous emotional stress. In some cases there may be a specific ritual associated with the activity, such as being in a certain location, listening to certain types of music, or following the activity with specific behaviors not directly related to the harming itself.

Also, some people are soothed by the sight of their own blood, and it calms them in distressing situations. To many the blood may even have equal or superior precedence over the pain, giving a greater sense of comfort and relief. This presents one of the greatest risks to the self-injurists.


Self-harm may also give a feeling of being in control of ones own body, which could be especially important for survivors of sexual abuse.

Self-injury may also be a means of communicating distress. This motivation is sometimes dismissed as "attention seeking" and has often been seen as the primary motivation. However, for many, the act of self-harm fulfils a purpose in itself and is not a means of communicating with or influencing others. Many who self-injure keep their injuries secret, while those who do disclose their injuries may be embarrassed and ashamed of their actions.


A lesser form of this extreme act is, for example, hitting ones head on the table or pulling ones hair out. Although this is often used euphemistically, for those who do it serves the same purpose of deferring the stress experienced by the major cause by the pain from this secondary option.

Culture / Community

It has been said, usually in a derogatory fashion by the media, that there is a 'culture of self injury' within schools and on the Internet. There are certainly communities that are based around the subject of self harm, and they tend to focus around a message board with or without a main website but it is debatable whether this constitutes "a community". There are many community sites of varying sizes that offer peer-support, emotional discussion, philosophical and psychological discussion, and general chit-chat. As the acts of self-harm can be widely misconstrued amongst the general populace, finding support from another person who has or does engage in self-harm can be preferable to discussion with someone not familiar with the underlying roots and thought structure behind it. Anecdotally, there are self harmers who state that it is easier for them to identify other self harmers than the average person would be able to, much as one who has been through other types of emotional distress can recognize the subtle cues given off by others who suffer the same affliction.

There is some disagreement as to whether such communities encourage and support self harm, however, such communities are known as Pro-SI and are separate from general self-injury awareness communities.

There is anecdotal evidence [1] that by being free to express feelings and self-harm related thoughts, that a person can understand their emotional world and reasons for self harming; people who no longer hurt themselves often continue to be members of self-injury awareness message boards for some time after 'quitting' and offer support to those people who wish to move away from self harm. Maintaining involvement in such support groups can also foster a continued remission of self-harm, though there is a far less organized support structure involving 'sponsors' as there is in alcoholism support groups, for example.

(under Self-harm awareness)

SIAD was initiated by (now known as the American Self-Harm Information Clearinghouse). It is not universally recognised, but it is a well known date within the grass-roots movement of self-injury awareness.

Mdwh 15:20, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

I just now started taking a look at this DSH article and I can provide quite a few documented sources for the previous sections under psychology. I've begun collecting journal articles on SI and quite a few of them substantiate this information. I've been quite busy lately but I'll try to get to it fairly soon.

--Jlbrightbill 03:00, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Helping Teens who Self Harm

Most of the writing here so far is very academic - which is fine - but not very helpful to people who self harm looking for help, or parents or friends who want to help them.

First let me declare that I am not a trained specialist in any way, but as a teacher I have worked with children for many years, and run a chat room Advice for Teens helpline for five years. At its peak we had about 20 'advisers' who were all teens (and became young adults!), mainly those themselves who had been through serious problems. Their main function was to listen, and sympathise, and suggest ways of getting help.

The Hidden Ones: the first aim of all who self harm is to keep it a secret. They will go to great lengths to hide this problem; like wearing long sleeves in the summer and avoiding games lessons at school. Usually no-one knows; not 'best friend', boy friend or parent. Only recently (in the UK) have the Government become aware of the serious nature of the problem, because they cannot be counted! But recent surveys suggest some 1 in 6 girls 'self harm' between the ages of 13-16. (Earlier surveys had started at 16 plus!) Relatively few boys in this age range self harm.

Why?: Self harming is rarely the problem. It is an attempt to cope with emotional problems that the person can find no way of dealing with, and often is too ashamed to admit. These may be from self hate because of their body shape, through bullying, parental, peer and academic pressures, to sexual, emotional or physical abuse. These are all things that a teen often can see no way out from, and can lead to depression, suicidal tendencies or drug/drink abuse. Most of these can not be solved until the original cause has been removed. Very often they cannot 'tell' because they can foresee a breakup of their family if they do.

How to Help?: An anonymous voice on the telephone (eg ChildLine) can often share the problem, and give advice,which leads to a solution. But too many children are too scared to talk, and scared that their call will be traced (even an 0800 one). So even deeper anonymity in a chat room or website can be the only way to seek help. Fortunately some official bodies have at last recognised this, and now have chatrooms with 1 to 1 advisers as well as phone lines. Unfortunately the demand far outweighs the supply (currently in the UK). An increasing number of schools are training and using Peer Counsellors, even in primary schools with 10-11 year old Mentors. But the vast majority of girls who self harm go through their teens with little or no support.

Well, this is an encyclopedia more than a help page. We do link to several sites that provide such information, though. --OGoncho 22:10, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Very true Goncho - but I would expect a good encyclopedia to give some background to the problem, not just a bare statement of what it is! BigSteve474

What sort of material are you thinking of, that should be added? There's a little information about help in the Treatment section. Remember that it's better if we can refer to external sources, and should avoid writing a "self help" type guide. Mdwh 14:15, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Mdwh, I would include info similar to my entry (a) indicating this is a common, rather than a rare mental problem. (In UK and USA, but any clues about rest of world?) and (2) an outline of common root causes. BigSteve474 10:14 24 July 2006

We have the Demographics section which details how common it seems to be, and Risk Factors mentions a few factors - are you thinking of things not currently in either of those two sections? Mdwh 11:05, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Mdwh: I think its a question of balance - I feel that the page (excellent though it is) underplays the seriousness of SH in young people. I have checked it is also a serious problem in Canada and Austalia, as well as UK and USA. eg "The Mental Health Foundation meanwhile estimates the rate in the UK to be 0.77%." that looks trivial - presumably for the whole population? The same report says "1 in 15 young people do it" - that is 6.6%, and the Samaritan report says "1 in 10 of 15-16yrs" do it/have done it - ie 10%. That is a lot worse than 0.77%. BigSteve 474 10:30 25th July 2006

I agree that the Demographics section is basically a rather unordered raw set of statistics at the moment - it would be good to try to clean this up to give a better picture to the reader. (Possible categorisations could be: "Statistics on the general population", "Statistics focused on young people" and "Statistics based on hospital admissions, maybe?)
I also agree about including more statistics specific to young people, to make it clear that it's a bigger problem among certain groups of the population - I've added the Mental Health Foundation statistic, and the Samaritans one. Any others we can add? Mdwh 02:54, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Many thanks for your thoughts Mdwh! That sounds good! BigSteve474 11:45 27 July 2006

Don't use "Click here for an image"

"Click here for an image" is very poor writing style. The image should be thumbnailed in the article if it is worth including. I am familiar with "triggering" claims and they do not apply to Wikipedia -- Wikipedia is not censored and Wikipedia's content disclaimer is clear. Perhaps someone can think of another solution, but I must reiterate:

I'll leave this for discussion before I come back and repair the image link. --Ptkfgs 01:48, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Conterio and Favazza survey

Jlbrightbill removed this, saying "20 year old study, which in SI research, is practically antique. Also perpetuates female-only stereotype".

I see what you mean, however despite it's age, it does seem to be a well-known study, and in particular is notable as one of the earliest (if not the first?) study into self-harm, as far as I know.

As for female-only stereotype, whilst I also agree, we must be careful of leaving out studies which do not conform to a particular POV. Instead we should say why the study is not valid.

So I've added it in back in, but hopefully in a better context - I've pointed out that this is was one of the earliest, and noted that the results of more recent studies have shown a more even split of female/male. Mdwh 02:12, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

I'd agree with the current edit, I don't intend to remove everything that points to a particular POV, but there's enough cultural stereotyping and sites that give a "Portrait of a self-injurer" that perpetuate a viewpoint that that more current data does not support. Favazza has provided a great wealth of information, but for various reasons, some of the demographic data is inaccurate. Including older studies validates research, and should be included but perhaps with a disclaimer (Such as the one you included in the most recent edit) mentioning that current data implies otherwise. Cornell Study I'm not sure Wikipedia's policy on journals, but for those who don't have access to the InfoTrac DB here's a copy of the study I've been referring to. --Jlbrightbill

Self-harm as self-punishment

I added something along these lines earlier: "Another possible source of self-harm can be self-loathing, often as a means of punishment for having strong feelings that they were expected to suppress when they were children, or because they feel bad and undeserving, having previously been abused and feeling that they were deserving of the abuse." I accept that it was unsourced, but I found the information from a site that Wikipedia has a link to, at It appears under a "self-loathing" section on the site under "Why do people engage in self-harm?"

For the moment I've re-added it with a reference to the source, though if the material is deemed too debatable or POV then I'll accept its removal.

Self-aggression in animals

Captive animals (especially monkeys and the like) often exhibit self-aggression, as a Google search on "self-aggression" and "monkey" will show. This behavior has been scientifically studied. Comments to this effect would seem appropriate to this article, as the roots of primate self-aggression could yield insight on similar human behavior.

  • I disagree; I understand that confined animals become mentally unstable due to the lack of stimuli in their environment, and I believe such derangements do not reflect human self harm *enough* to warrent a mention.
It smacks of original research to me. If there's a credible study of animal psychology linking the two phenomenon, that's certainly note-worthy. Until such an article is produced, the topics should be considered unlinked. LeaHazel : talk : contribs 13:13, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
I believe there's something in A Bright Red Scream about it. Would that count as a credible source? --OGoncho 09:28, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

List of fictional self-harmers

There's currently a discussion over at Talk:List of fictional self-harmers about the credibility of such a list and how the criteria of self-harm for that list may be "ill-defined." -→Buchanan-Hermit/?! 17:08, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Self-Harm and Self Repression

After reading the statement that some people hurt themselves yet still try to conceal the wounds afterwards led me to some new thinking. Some people outcast themselves from society and feel inferior, for them hiding from others and staying low on the 'radar' is somewhat normal. Is it possible to consider that the bodily harm that these people do to themselves is part of hiding? To hurt yourself and try not to let people notice, if they notice then your not doing enough to be hidden. Repressing outward emotions in both physical and mental forms. 22:23, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

As one of the people who self-injure, I would have to say you're wrong (for most cases, at least). Self-injury is an intimate thing, not something to be done lightly. --OGoncho 01:38, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah I'm with OGoncho, that's about as far off the mark as it gets for me as well. If you saw me walking down the street, you'd never know, I dress in Banana Republic, I'm an athlete, I'm social, I look like I have the perfect life (And I really do have a great life), but I picked up the habit a while ago during a down period and it stuck. While many are so-called "outcasts", it ignores the vast population who you'd never in a million years guess had done it. That explanation ignores the simple yet accurate truth that SI works to temporarily relieve anxiety and stress, if something works, you stick with it. Jlbrightbill 05:12, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Should the article title be changed?

I know the subject of what this article should be titled has been up for debate, but "Self-harm" is an extremely ambiguous title and current literature does not use it. Most references to "Self-harm" come from British media sources. A quick search using the PsycArticles database or InfoTrac will confirm this. The three I most commonly see are "Deliberate Self-Harm", "Self-Injurious Behavior" (, and simply "Self-injury". The phrase self-harm has fallen out of use because it isn't specific enough. Self-injury refers to an act, self-harm could mean almost anything ranging from eating fatty foods, substance abuse, or even engaging in self-destructive dating patterns. The core of the problem is that the title basically says nothing. This was changed by literature that chooses to use "Deliberate Self-Harm", as it removes the ambiguity. Another term, used by prominent Cornell university researchers and linked above, is Self-Injurious Behavior. This term also has merit, although I've run across a few articles that disliked the use of the word "behavior" because it is in a loaded phrase. Then there are also many articles that simply use Self-Injury.

Another factor that shouldn't be overlooked is that self-injurers refer to their actions (In generic form, "cutting" and "burning" used for specifics) almost exclusively as 'SI', an abbreviation of self-injury. I have never seen it abbreviated 'SH'. While I wouldn't normally consider this type of information worth much weight in deciding, it should be taken to consideration as well.

The upshot of this is that there are many valid terms for this in use by current researchers, and Self-harm is not one of them. Consider the phrase "Manic Depressive", it's an antiquated term that has since been replaced by "Bipolar Personality Disorder". This is in many ways the same type of thing.

I agree. I guess there are three areas where we should look at: what terms the media use, what terms are used by researchers/medical people, and what terms are used by those who self-identify as doing this (e.g., being a "self-injurer"). I'd favour self-injury as it's not only common in the media, but also very commonly used in my experience by those who do this. Mdwh 12:24, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Self-Injury is the one I've come across most when talking to people. --Nate1481 15:12, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree with the above points. --OGoncho 02:48, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
So is it safe to say that a consensus has been reached and "Self-injury" is clearly the proper title? I'm unfamiliar with the technical aspect of Wikipedia, so someone with more experience than I should do or request the actual move.

Also, something I just noticed is how extensively the internal terminology of the article uses "Self-harm". When this title change does happen, the article as a whole will need to be combed through to determine what terms need changed to self-injury and what needs to stay self-harm, if anything. Quotes and references of course would remain, but outside of that, what needs updated. Jlbrightbill 08:35, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Not sure where else to put this...I'm not sure if these journal articles are allowed here, but this is a zip of 15 articles specifically about SI. I've collected these over the past 2 years, and there's a wealth of useful information contained. I'm too busy with school to really pull info to add to this Wikipedia article, so here it is for others to make use of: Jlbrightbill 09:22, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Article title and internal references updated. In a few instances I left it at "Self-harm", primarily when it was referring to a British news article, as it's the primary term in the UK media. Jlbrightbill
moved peer review to keep up --Nate1481 12:04, 15 January 2007 (UTC)


Is it time to archive this talk page? Is getting long and a move would be an appropriate time for a clean start. --Nate1481 12:12, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

The Labels Within The Article

No wonder self-harming is a taboo if respected websites allow the posting of articles that contain suggestions of negative labelling. I have used many wikipedia articles to gain knowledge on certain subjects and if I did not know anything about self-harming then I strongly believe that I would be mislead by this article. I agree with many things written in the article, such as causes and the examples of studies, but I believe that if a self-harmer were to read this they would feel stigmatised. I work with a self-harm group, being one myself a few years ago, and I would never recommend this article to them. Our aim is to make individuals feel comfortable with self-harming (excluding severe cases such as poisoning etc.), after all, a lot of methods of self-harm are proven to be safer than smoking, alcoholism and drug taking. The negative labels suggested by this article, I believe, would alienate individuals who due to this will not seek support! I am saddened by the fact that this article has the potential to play with an individual’s perceptions, an individual who may be just looking for an explanation of what they are doing to themselves. I doubt that the author of the article had the intention to label, but I suggest that in the future, it would be better to consider the fact that this is a very sensitive subject and that this article does not reflect that. Some may disagree with my statements, please feel free is disagree. Thank you for reading... 20:54, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm going to have to disagree with you on almost every point you make. I'm both a psychology student and self-injurer, so I feel I am qualified to comment from both sides of the issue so to speak. This article, for the most part, does not contain the negative labeling and loaded phrases that the media is known for. You say if you didn't know anything about self-injury you'd be misled...but how? From an informational standpoint, what is contained here is academically verified. A self-injury help group will have an entirely different focus than an encyclopedia article, and it should stay that way. I'd even agree with you (From the perspective of a self-injurer) that light cutting is less damaging than say cocaine or heroin usage, but that's entirely beside the point. As far as explanations for what they're doing to themselves, this is a better source than anything I've encountered online. The single best thing I've read in explaining in my mind why I do what I do is the chapter on the Psychology of Cutting from 'A Bright Red Scream', the way it describes dissociation, numbing, etc, is very well done. This Wiki article however is better than any other single source I've read. I don't disagree with you at all that self-injury is mislabled, misrepresented, and self-injurers are dehumanized, but I just don't see it in this article. If you could be specific about just what you object to, I'll take a look at it. Jlbrightbill 23:45, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
As said by Jlbrightbill this is an encyclopedia. it is not ment to be a help reference (though the external links section contains a lot) I have reread this with your comments in mind and would have to say that it doses actively mention some of the common misconceptions & miss labelling, such as self mutilation and attention seeking as such, not to mention these would be of detrement to the article and reduce understanding. --Nate1481 00:39, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
What do you mean by "negative labels"? Mdwh 02:21, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Merge related

Of List of fictional self-harmers and self-injury in popular cultureI've suggested on the talk page of both that this might be an idea as they cover similar ground, any comments? --Nate1481 14:18, 15 January 2007 (UTC)


This link keeps being added by the same IP ( ' Understanding and Conquering Self Harm - eBook'. Just wanted 2 note here. --Nate1481 01:23, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Can we request that this page be locked for editing by non-registered users, or some form of IP ban on the culprits? Just within the past few weeks there's been a huge outbreak of persistent vandalism. Jlbrightbill 09:57, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
It's an article which will attract vandals & has done the entire time I've followed it, in the specific case of the IP above blocking them would be the solution, the problem with part protecting the article is that it is exactly the kind of article someone might want to edit anonymously. --Nate1481 15:35, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

self harm?

I was taking benadryl to get high( 14 pills every day ) and was taking them with alcohol . I overdosed one day and it left me with severe internal damage, possible stroke and grion injury. Would this be considered self harm or self destruction behavior? I was depressed at the time.

While it's definitely self-destructive, this would likely fall outside of the definition of self-injury because your intent was to get high. Basically another method for drug use, marijuana, cocaine, etc. Jlbrightbill 03:09, 25 February 2007 (UTC)


Continiued attempts of this page are being vandalised by a unknown register with the IP Can we temp ban this user please. --timberhardwood 18:35, 18 March 2007

This is not vandalism.
Whilst there is a stereotype of emo subculture and self-injury, anything stated on here must be based on 3rd party reliable sources, and not "my son was an emo and he did this". Also any evidence of correlations is possibly more appropriate for an emo page than here (since most people who self-harm have nothing to do with emosubculture). A similar thing happened with a recent report which claimed a correlation between goth subculture and self-harm, but in the end it was dropped from the page, as the research did not seem extensive or reliable. But here, we don't have any research to report on in the first place.
I am also suspicious of the various accounts springing up that have made no other edits other than to revert changes or make comments on this issue... Mdwh 17:00, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

The wording is also very confusing - "The Emo subculture has been known to inflict self harm" - what does that mean? How does a subculture inflict self-harm? What reliable sources is this based on? Mdwh 17:02, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Also, Wallywombat should read Wikipedia:3RR rather than continuing an edit war, as I believe there has already been a violation of that. Mdwh 17:24, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

I didn't put the picture up there i have just noticed recent changes to the page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Timberwoodhard (talkcontribs) at 08:49, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, whatever the case may be, why don't we make a deal with each other? Wallywombat, are you willing to work serieusly on this article? That is: making constructive edits, adding new information, providing sources with it etc. In exchange, your picture can stay then. Plus, by doing so, you might help other people to understand self-injury, or people who are/were also dealing with a suicidal son (you said so here).
For example: this article could use a bit of information about how other people look against self-injury. I'm sure there is a book which discusses that. I'm saying this because your picture would fit perfectly in such a section. After all, there are still a lot of people who seem to think that all emos and gothics cut themselves. - Face 20:05, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

As long as this article changes for better, not worse ill be happy. Also as Mdwh stated, if your anxious for that picture to be displayed can you place it in the emo/gothic articles? Timberwoodhard 17:07, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not about bargaining, "If you play nice, we'll let you keep it" just doesn't work. I'm sorry for your loss, it's just doesn't fit the article. There are plenty of things I could contribute to this article from personal experience, but I don't because it's not verifiable and there aren't outside sources. If you wish to keep a memory of your son and raise awareness in the emo subculture about self-injury, you may want to look into creating a Myspace to better accomplish this goal. Jlbrightbill 06:48, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

I aggree maybe WallyWombat should make his own personal site to talk about the death of his son and what the picture has to do with it. Timberwoodhard 17:32, 20 March 2007 (UTC)


From the article:

In the strictest terms, self-harm is a general term for self-damaging activities (which could include alcohol abuse and bulimia), whereas self-injury refers more specifically to the practice of cutting, bruising, poisoning, over-dosing (without suicidal intent), burning or otherwise directly injuring the body.

Perhaps someone can rephrase this? It seems a bit, well, oxymoron-ic, --buck 19:50, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

External Links

I pruned down the external links section, it seemed a bit excessive- Wikipedia is not a links directory :) . I didn't have time to visit all of the websites, so I pruned the less than notable URL's and those with suspicious discriptions. CelticLabyrinth 22:19, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Female Perversion?

Why does this article link to female perversion? Is there a legitimate reason for this? --Ketsuekigata 22:42, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Because a form of "female perversion" is self-injury? I don't know anything about it, just going by what the article says - I see it's a controversial term, but it seems to fit. What in particular do you object to? Mdwh 23:06, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
I put a qualifier on the Female Perversion reference, but am suspect of the Female perversion article itself. It appears to have been written by one editor whose overall interests lean toward the purient, positional, and POV (aliteration!). I would suggest a re-consideration of the Female perversion article, and a review of its content. DashaKat 00:57, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
I would avoid linking the article to the the self-injury page. I believe a fault of early research constructing self-injury as a female relied on clinical research which may only show who is more likely to be diagnosed. Studies of more general populations are starting to find the gender trend to be diminishing. I think that female perversion association attempts to construct self-injury as a female problem. Although I do appreciate tag of placing it as a psychological construct, I believe a more appropriate and inclusive related article would perhaps be the Deviant behavior. Reesebw 01:52, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Reesebw, thanks for your comments, the sources you refer to look interesting. I'd question the wording you've put as "Self-injury is generally viewed as a deviant behavior." I think the previous version,
"Self-injury is generally considered a social taboo."
is less emotive and more accurate of public perception, at least in the UK. Perhaps even combined or softened to include both, e.g. "SI is considered by some to be xxx" Paulbrock 02:45, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Paulbrock, perhaps it might be a slight language difference in the US, but I have always interpreted the use of the word "taboo" to have a negative connotation by saying the self-injury should be prohibited or not allowed. I believe using the term "deviant behavior" is neutral in that it is simply stating that is is non-normative behavior without associating a sense of morality with it. It is also how the sociological discipline would categorize the behavior, but that is also my field of study and may be my bias in how the issue is presented. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Reesebw (talkcontribs) 03:19, 4 May 2007 (UTC).
I removed the statement altogether, as it is POV. Technically, body modification of any sort is considered self-injury -- that includes pierced ears -- and, as noted, body modification is not only socially acceptable, it is fashionable. While extreme body modification may be distateful, and, indeed, socially unacceptable in the main, it is a powerful facet of an entrenched and demonstrable sub-culture. We can't pick and choose what's purient and what's cool. DashaKat 10:35, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

<--If you can get a copy of some of the sources i'm sure more than one would confirm it as true. Also the article is using the more specific definition of self-injury described in the article, if you get to broad you can argue SI is also includes any elective surgery. --Nate 11:50, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

I believe that is the difference between self-harm and self-injury. Self-harm is a more broad category where voluntary actions may lead to person harm, whereas self-injury is the deliberate injury to the body where pain and harm is the primary intent and not a bi-product. I would also like to argue that deviant behavior is the best way to describe the action if you read the intro for deviant behavior. "Deviant behavior is behavior that is a recognized violation of social norms. Formal and informal social controls attempt to prevent or minimize deviance. One such control is through the medicalization of deviance. It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant." As we can see the practice is attempted to be managed by the larger society through social controls of medicalization, clinics, and self-help groups (all of which are evident on this page with the treatment section, psychological correlation to disorders, and self-help links on the bottom of the page). It also states that it is a non-normative behavior, but does not state the deviant behavior is inherently immoral, but just relative to the society it is evident in. Putting it under the category of deviant behavior also acknowledges that it may be part of a sub-culture out of the mainstream society. In the future I'm going to add a summary of two articles that deal with stigmatization and hiding associated with cutting that will support this notion. When individuals hide their behavior from detection they know it is deviant and socially non-normative.Reesebw 16:27, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
I'd agree with that assessment of self-injury and self-harm. Also regarding the phrase deviant behavior, I don't necessarily object to it but it's entirely dependent on wording. If the article says it is deviant, I'd object, however if it says that it's considered deviant, I'd say that would be permissible since the general public does considered it deviant. Like Reese said, deviance within a system is dependent on the norms established within that system.
I have a pretty sizable collection of articles pertaining to self-injury that could greatly benefit this article, but I don't have experience with large-scale Wiki editing, which has kept me from adding information so far. For those that regularly monitor this page, if you could provide suggestions about things that specifically need more information, I'll comb through my collection and see what I can find. Currently I think the 'Psychology' section could benefit from one I have titled "The developmental psychopathology of self-injurious behavior: Compensatory regulation in posttraumatic adaptation". Jlbrightbill
I'd suggest copying it here & then editing if your not confident (the preview button is also very handy). My main objection to the use of the term deviant is possible interpretation, while it may be true, this doesn't mean it will always be read in the way intended. Taboo means people don't want to talk about it rather then their options of the act itself. Nate1481 (talkcontribs) 16:23, 10 May 2007

name change

I believe we should change the articles name to Self Mutilation, first it sounds nicer(especially list of self mutilaters, and i believe it is usually classified technically as self mutilation. Im pretty sure it is called Self Mutilation in DSM4 not positive though. 03:38, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

The term has judgemental conertations & is ofternd considered offence it would be a bad idea. --Nate1481 (talkcontribs 09:13, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

No. Self-Mutilation is a biased and stigmatized definition of the practice. Self-Injury is more suitable. Reesebw 17:37, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Why is it biased please explain65.97.139.67 17:45, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

As far as I know, there isn't a "technical" name, and it isn't in the DSM as its own diagnosis. Mdwh 18:08, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Not all self-injury qualifies as "mutilation". The current title is the broadest possible, as it should be. wikipediatrix 18:18, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Self-injury is the generally accepted professional terminology for desecration of the body in a manner that exceeds the boundaries of socially acceptable body modification. Self-multilation implies something wholly different, and is, IMHO, phraseology that connoteds exactly what the user issuing the charge to change the name in the first place is suggesting of self-injury. DashaKat 20:06, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

We already discussed this here:

Mutilation is a loaded phrase that is an embedded POV statement. Take a look at one definition of mutilate (American Heritage Dictionary): "To disfigure by damaging irreparably." Compare that with injure, taken from the same source: "To cause physical harm to; hurt." Injure refers to what is being done, while mutilate includes (In almost all definitions) some form of disfigure, make imperfect, or destroy. Clearly you can see the bias. I have the unique position of approaching this from both an academic standpoint as one working on his degree, as well as one who has self-injured in the past. Neither standpoint supports 'self-mutilation' as an acceptable title. Jlbrightbill 01:11, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Pain sensation in Self-injury v2

Reason for bringing it up again is based on recent personal experience, but also because this experience ties in with academic sources and personal accounts I've read. Bear with the SI story because it lays groundwork for the discussion. I'd been playing around with recreational DXM usage recently out of sheer curiosity about how dissociative drugs feel. While getting into the swing of a low plateau dose, I decided to self-injure (It had been about 3 months since I'd done it and I was like "what the heck, why not"). In this instance it was burning my arm with a match. It felt completely different from non-dissociative SI I've done. The best way I can describe it, as mutually exclusive as this sounds, is that I felt the pain but didn't feel it as the same time. Yes...there was pain from burning skin, but it wasn't my pain, even though I could feel it. In personal accounts of SI some say they feel pain, some say they don't. It is my opinion that this discrepancy is directly related to the dissociative state of the self-injurer. The dissociation paragraph of 'Psychology' could use some expanding.

Now for the minor difficulty. Off the top of my head I don't have any academic sources that verify this experience. I'll pore through the articles I have on self-injury as well as see if I can locate any pertinent articles on dissociative drugs (PCP, Ketamine, etc) that may contain relevant information. In the meantime, I welcome feedback from regular contributors to this article as well as passers-by. Jlbrightbill

The academic issue here is that discussing self-injury within the context of altered consciousness is mixing apples and oranges. The substance ingested produced a disinhibitory response. This begs a "chicken or the egg" scenario. The topic is not appropriate for htis article. --DashaKat 12:58, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
That's slightly missing what I'm getting at though, I'm not suggesting that we create a section on substance diminished pain response. Obviously if you're drugged on morphine or any number of substances your pain sensation will be lessened. What I'm trying to get at is that the pain sensation in substance induced dissociation is extremely similar to the pain sensation in psychological dissociation. In that sense it's very relevant. Especially since there is a section of the book 'A Bright Red Scream' that deals with recurring dissociation as a self-perpetuating coping mechanism to deal with affective and cognitive stress and dysphoria. I realize it may seem like apples to oranges, but when the manifestation of two phenomena are so similar, it bears further consideration and research.
A chronological review of self-injury literature will reveal trends in the expanding understanding of both form and function of the behavior. A self-report such as "It makes me feel better" would at one time be perceived as masochistic or a twisted form of self-punishment. After further research, now we better understand the psychological and physiological processes behind such a statement. It would be a shame to make the same mistake now regarding dissociation and dismiss it as irrelevant. --Jlbrightbill 16:24, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

See Also: Nail Biting

How exactly is Nail Biting self-injury? --Xinjinbei 07:22, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Well, it's a compulsive habit about doing harm to the body. Plus, the nail-biting article has this bit: "Extreme nailbiting can be considered to be a form of masochistic self-mutilation. Bitten fingertips can become very sensitive to pain, usually at the place the skin meets the edge of the nail. If the nail surrounds have been damaged, salty foods, (such as potato chips and pickles), can get between the skin and nail and cause pain and hypersensitivity." --OGoncho 09:16, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Nail biting is not self-injury. It falls under the auspices of compulsive behavior driven by an underlying dysregulation, probably anxiety, or non-aggressive self-stimulation. This category also includes face picking, eye brow pulling, rubbing the skin, rolling objects between the fingers, lip chewing, etc. --DashaKat 12:22, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Attention seeking

There may be a source for it being a misconception, but does the source state "this is occasionally true" (which was added in recently [7])? (I'm sure that there exists at least some cases where people do it for attention seeking reasons, but that's true of anything - I think we need a source to say that people occasionally self-harm to seek attention. Although we state it's a misconception, this seems to be a sneaky way to nonetheless label some self-harmers as attention seekers. It's a bit like saying "People occasionally smoke to seek attention" - technically it might be true, but it's obviously POV in terms of the impression it gives the reader. Maybe it can be phrased better?)

The statement to which you are referring is wholly inaccurate. I undertook to re-write the "Definintion" section, and included a link to a sub-section on Para-suicidality in the Suicide article to specifically cross-reference this section.
I haven't looked at this artcle in a while, but it's pretty poor, to my way of thinking. --DashaKat 23:53, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
The edit summary that added the source implied it covered it, I haven't had an opportunity to read it myself, if you still think it should be removed fair enough. --Nate1481( t/c) 10:17, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
May have been mistaken, one added here, other here think, i may have confuse my refs, sorry.--Nate1481( t/c) 10:28, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

kids in trouble help page

Hi, You removed my link to the kids in trouble help page from the self injury page. While topics such as depression, child abuse and suicide are more prominent topics on the Kids in Trouble Help Page (KITHP) there definately are resources there for self injury (cutting) see the helplinks page, also see a number of the stories. Also the helplinks and the hotlines not to mention the stories are directly and sometimes indirectly helpful to kids and teens who cut. I will also be adding more helplinks and information for kids and teens who self injure. I would appreciate it if you return the link, before I do. I hope this clarifies. Endabusenow 18:16, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

Partly it's to keep the number of links down - if we allow one site with personal stories and links, there are hundreds of others that people will start adding, so we've been trying to keep the links down to sites which offer information about self-injury. What do other editors think? Mdwh 18:23, 11 August 2007 (UTC)


There's a short article on slitting. I suggest it should be removed Maybe the term can be incorporated into self-injury if the term is popular enough. Brian Pearson 02:42, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Article had been deleted. --Nate1481( t/c) 10:29, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
  1. ^ LifeSIGNS Self Injury Awareness Booklet, Version 2 Mar. 01, 2005 p.33-43 from Self Injury Awareness Booklet, LifeSIGNS