As a parent, it’s never easy to imagine your child might be self-harming. But a survey by YouGov in 2018 shows that 36 per cent of Singaporeans aged 18 to 24 have engaged in self-harm at some point in their lives. So while your child may not be at risk, they may have a little friend who is self-harming – psychologists say children who self harm quite often tell their friends, rather than their family. So your child may be carrying a secret for their friend… unsure how to deal with it.
Self-injury or self-harm is deliberately harming your own body – such as cutting, scratching or burning yourself. It’s a harmful way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration.
Self-injury may bring temporary feelings of calmness. But it’s usually followed by feeling guilty and ashamed, and more painful emotions. And while kids who self-injure usually don’t mean to seriously harm themselves, it can happen by accident.