Once a Self-Injurer, Always a Self-Injurer?

Here's what's happening on the HealthyPlace site this week:

From the HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs

Each of our mental health bloggers posts twice a week. If you happen to miss a story, simply click on the blogger's homepage link and all the stories are listed there. Our bloggers are also recording short audio posts which are linked in the left side nav of their pages. Oh! and one important last thing: your comments on their posts are welcome and encouraged.  Our bloggers appreciate them and they will respond.

New Medical Director for

We want to welcome Dr. Susan Wynne, as the new Medical Director of Dr. Wynne is Board-Certified in Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry. Based in San Antonio, Texas, she has over 20 years of experience working with mental health patients.

In addition to co-hosting the online HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show, Dr. Wynne will be blogging for us. Visit her "Your Mental Health" blog.

Will My Self-Injury Ever End?

That's how Melissa concluded her email to us. After nearly 30 years of self-injury behaviors, Melissa has practically given up hope.

Only a handful of empirical studies have examined self-harm in a systematic, sound manner. Self-harm appears to be more common in females than in males, and it tends to begin in adolescence or early adulthood. While some people may engage in self-harm a few times and then stop, others engage in it frequently and have great difficulty stopping the behavior. (Simeon, D., & Hollander, E. (Eds.). (2001). Self injurious Behaviors: Assessment and Treatment. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.)

What If You Don't Get Treatment for Self-Injury?

  • About 1 in 3 people who self-harm for the first time will do it again during the following year.
  • About 3 in 100 people who self-harm over 15 years will actually kill themselves. This is more than 50 times the rate for people who don't self-harm. The risk increases with age and is much greater for men.
  • every so often, re-visit your decision not to stop.

What If You Don't Want to Stop Self-Harming?

If you decide that you don't want to stop self-harming, you can still:

  • reduce the damage to your body (for example, use clean blades);
  • keep thinking about possible answers to the things that make you harm yourself;
  • Cutting can give you permanent scarring, numbness, or weakness/paralysis of fingers.

Self-harm can be very damaging physically and psychologically - in the end, you'll do better by stopping.

Deciding to stop self-injury is a very personal decision though, says Debra Martinson, of the Secret Shame self-injury website. "You may have to consider it for a long time before you decide that you're ready to commit to a life without scars and bruises. Don't be discouraged if you conclude the time isn't right for you to stop yet; you can still exert more control over your self-injury by choosing when and how much you harm yourself, by setting limits for your self-harm, and by taking responsibility for it."

Share Your Mental Health Experiences

Share your experiences with eating disorders treatment or any mental health subject, or respond to other people's audio posts, by calling our toll-free number (1-888-883-8045).

You can listen to what other people are saying by clicking on the gray title bars inside the widgets located on the "Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences" homepage, the HealthyPlace homepage, and the HealthyPlace Support Network homepage.

If you have any questions, write us at: info AT

"Why, For Many, "Once a Self-Injurer, Always a Self-Injurer?" On HealthyPlace TV

Christie is now 25 and has been self-injuring for 12 years. We'll be talking about the difficulty in stopping self-injury once you start and the tools she uses to help manage her self-injurious behaviors on this week's HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show.

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You can watch the interview on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show website - Live, Wed., Feb. 10 at 3p CST, 4 EST. On-demand after that.

Still to Come in February on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show

  • Bipolar Vida blogger, Cristina Fender
  • Parenting a Child with Behavior Problems w/ Dr. Steven Richfield (The Parent Coach)

If you would like to be a guest on the show or share your personal story in writing or via video, please write us at: producer AT

Click here for a list of previous HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Shows.

Lack of Social Skills Reason Why Children Get Bullied

Researchers uncover three factors in a child's behavior that sets him/her up to be a victim of bullies. The story also touches on what parents can do to help their child develop better social skills. More info on bullies and bullying:

back to: Mental-Health Newsletter Index

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2010, February 9). Once a Self-Injurer, Always a Self-Injurer?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Last Updated: September 5, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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