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Self Harm (Essay Sample)


Description of self harm, its consequences, and how it can be prevented


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[Date of Submission]
Self-harm, for decades, has been viewed as a pathological expression of latent stress, without meaning, reason or desire. In tandem to this, a bunch of psychologists have argued and depicted self-harm as powerful and silent language (Motz, 2009). Self-harm communicates states of mind to others, inscribing a narrative on the body itself, and it embodies unbearable feelings and memories, with the aim of evincing the hope of being understood (Motz, 2009). In line with this, Page and Page (2007), also describe a plethora of activities that delineate self-harm or self-injury. The activities are always deliberate, with the intent of causing harm to one's own body, and they may encompass; cutting, hair pulling, skin picking, burning, biting, bone breaking, head banging, self-poising and strangulation, and limb amputation (Page & Page, 2007; Walsh 2006). There are several facets that contribute or lead to self-harm, and Motz (2009), affirms that self-harm can be conducted by an individual to create boundaries, or as a sign of hope, or as a dialectic, a self-defense mechanism. Moreover, self-harm can be attributed or linked mental illnesses-stress, borderline personality and depression (Walsh, 2006).
In light with this, the prevalence of self-harm in the world has been on the rise, and several cases reported on the matter from different countries. According to the research done by Martin, Swannell, Hazell, Harrison and Taylor (2010), Australia has been facing the self-harm problem, which has been remarkably substantial and ascribed to a wide range of aspects, entailing psychological distress and mental health problems. The frequency of self-harm in the country is reported to range from 1to 50 instances (mean of 7) (Martin et al., 2010). Further, the mean age of onset is averaged to 17 years, with the oldest age of onset set at 44 years for males and 60 years for females, and the core method of self-harm depicted as cutting (Martin et al., 2010). Moreover, most of the victims are reported to have received psychiatric diagnosis or were likely to be using substances (Martin et al., 2010). Similarly, Young, Beinum, Sweeting and West (2007), also contend that self-harm is fairly common, and possible on the rise in most populations outside Australia. As well, a 7.1 percent life time of self-harm is realized, and women are likely to self-harm during their lifetime in a scale of 8.4 vs 5.8 percent (Young et al., 2007). In conjunction to this, Young et al. (2007) have also confirmed that labor market position strongly influences self-harm, citing that there is six to sevenfold increase for self-harm incidences for the non-labor market group, in every subsequent year.
To contain the situation, different countries, and organizations have developed different prevention strategies to curb the entire issue and help save a lot of lives (Nixon & Heath, 2009). School-based prevention programs have been initiated to play a dual role in; raising awareness of the sources of help that are available to young people exposed to self-harm and offer a proficient support, prepare and equip the youth on the measures to take (Hawton, Rodham & Evans, 2006). School-based prevention programs can be debated into three categories; primary, secondary and tertiary prevention (Hawton, Rodham & Evans, 2006). Primary prevention aims at modifying factors that might predispose individuals to self-harm phenomena, whereas, secondary prevention targets individuals subjected to the problem, and lastly, tertiary prevention involves the provision of help to victims of self-harm (Hawton, Rodham & Evans, 2006). The actual programmes offered in the school-based platform include; suicide awareness, skill training, mental health awareness, self-esteem, and coping with stress programmes (Hawton, Rodham & Evans, 2006). Also, fair and intensive public health programmes have been established to aid in the teaching and promoting awareness concerning self-harm and the several ways it can be prevented and treated (Whittington & Logan, 2011).
Conventionally, there are different types of interventions put forth to control the situation. Clinical intervention is the most common form of treatment and counseling sets the epicenter of all forms of treatment (Walker, 2012). McDougall, Armstrong and Trainor (2010) give different forms of psychological or counseling treatments for self-harm, and they include; individual therapy, group therapy and problem solving strategy. Under individual therapy, there different forms of therapies offered, and they comprise; cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps the victims learn new skills for managing their emotions thoughts and behaviors (Gratz & Chapman, 2009). In addition, Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is also immensely useful as it entails processes that enable patients to learn how to accept themselves, their lives and other people (Gratz & Chapman, 2009). Besides, psychodynamic therapy is equally fundamental, and it focuses on the childhood of the victim to try and figure out the underlying issues (Gratz & Chapman, 2009; Miller & Brock, 2010). Whittington and Logan (2011) also, describe pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical forms of interventions. Pharmaceutical methods involve the use of drugs to reduce attempted self-harm or suicide, while non-pharmaceutical does not use drugs (Whittington and Logan, 2011).
In line with this, the age group mostly affected with the self-harm upshot is the youth group, ascribed to a plethora of factors. Family relationships have been one of the core factors and majority of the youths have cited that problems in the family-divorce, constant arguments and fights, parenting and discipline-as the paramount concern and a motivating factor to self-harm (McDougall, Armstrong & Trainor, 2010; Veague, 2008). Also, no discourse on self-harm would be complete with the issue of attention needing, and highly often most of the youths succumb to the challenge in quest for it (McDougall, Armstrong & Trainor, 2010; Veague, 2008). Another vital consideration is risk taking, over which most of the youths are subjected to the risk of trying out illicit substances, and alcohol (McDougall, Armstrong & Trainor, 2010; Veague, 2008). Further, the pressure to succeed in life may also significantly lead to self-harm (Veague, 2008). In connection to this, the introduction of school-based prevention programmes to control the rising situation has been the utter most steps taken by the several institutions, since it concentrates adeptly on the particular affected group (McDougall, Armstrong & Trainor, 2010). Likewise, the discussed treatment and intervention measures, offer quality and proficient know-how on how to prevent and address the self-harm issue.
Under the same note, there are different resources that have been availed in the commission to aid in reducing and managing self-harm prevalence and provenance. Training and use of professional human resource has been the key resource in solving the problem (Hollander, 2008). Counselors and psychotherapist are the key resource, and they have contributed a lot to the realization of the cure and control of the self-harm (Walsh, 2012; Hollander, 2008). Furthermore, teaching resources-books, magazines, video clips, and brochu...
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