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Why Do People Self-Harm And What We Can Do To Help Them

Depression is a serious mental disease and people are adamant about educating themselves about it recently. When the death of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington circulated the social media, most people all over the world had mourned for his loss. Once again, this opened up a serious topic considering mental health issues and how people are ignorant about it. In fact, it’s heart-wrenching to read comments from few people saying how “weak” he was for surrendering to his problems and escaping through suicide. Some people play the victim card, saying he wasn’t strong enough to handle the problems, trials, and challenges he was facing.

Linkin Park's Chester Bennington was the latest victim of suicide

Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington was the latest victim of suicide

The truth is depressed people are not weak at all. There’s so much more that we need to learn and understand when it comes to people who are battling depression. Why do depressed people self-harm to the point of ending their own life? No matter how much you shun the existence of mental health disease, we need to educate ourselves in order to understand them better. Our education will help in supporting them in overcoming their depression and ultimately saving them. Here are the things you should know about depressed people and why they commit self-harm.

They Do It To Distract Themselves

Depressed People often experience mental and emotional breakdown

Depressed People often experience mental and emotional breakdown

Depressed people struggle coping with many things, including other people and themselves. Their pent-up feelings become too overwhelming to carry inside (probably because there’s no one they can turn to share this burden with). When it becomes too devastating and they feel like the thoughts won’t leave them alone, they start harming themselves because the pain helps ease their burden. Such people welcome the pain because it gives them the feeling like they’re in control of their lives. Often, depressed people tend to do self-harm around their wrists.


If you suspect or notice a person you’re associated with has tendency to self-harm themselves, the best tactic is to try and talk with that person. Sometimes a few comforting words can do a lot. If you are ever in a situation to notice that someone is about to slit their wrists, wrap your palm around it and get rid of the sharp object. Invite them to sit with you and urge them to talk. It may be hard at first but keep reminding them that if they want the distraction, you’re always there to listen and help in any way possible.

If not, maybe coax them into doing something they love to distract them. For example, they may like to write, cook, or draw so you can always urge them to turn to their hobbies in order to keep their minds occupied with happy thoughts. Tell them to pour all their feelings into what they’re doing, instead of self-harming. The goal here is to create another outlet to unload all their burdens and divert their attention from self-harming.

They Tend to Self-harm in order to punish themselves

Sometimes, growing up with strict, uptight parents can have a huge impact on a person’s life and their mental health. This kind of parenting will not always lead kids to start battling depression but it’s fair to say it’s highly boosting the risks. Because their parents or relatives place a high bar of expectations, kids feel pressured and constricted to meet it. The truth is, these people struggle to choose between doing the things they want and love and doing the obligations and responsibilities placed on their shoulders.

Often, these people choose the latter because they don’t want to disappoint their parents. Many around them don’t even know the battle they’re in and when they do slip up, they are often blamed for it. Depressed people mostly feel as if everything they do is wrong and sometimes they don’t see another solution but to harm themselves in order to gain control. So, they tend to self-harm because they feel like they deserved it for not becoming the best version of themselves.


Talk with Psychiatrist

If you’re a parent or a friend of a depressed individual, it’s important that you remind them that making mistakes is inevitable. As a human being, we’re bound to make mistakes and that’s perfectly fine. If your child or friend did a mistake, we ask you to lengthen your patience and remain calm. Remind yourself that it takes a lot of courage to confess mistakes and admit their wrong-doings (if they did slip up). They’re already punishing themselves mentally, so there’s no reason for you to chastise them with verbal abuse saying how much they’re a disgrace or what not.

Instead, talk to them in a gentle, calm manner. When they confess their mistakes, don’t interrupt them and just listen. When they’re done and had somehow recuperated, try to help him or her to reflect on their mistakes. Tell them that you’re upset but not angry. Explain in a calm manner why what they did was wrong. Then, offer a solution on how to fix their mistakes, help them learn and correct it, especially if the same mistake is ought to happen again. Finally, try to explain that every mistake has its consequences and the next time if the same mistake occurs, they will be disciplined.

The key is to try and help wrap their minds that it’s okay to make mistakes. The most important thing is to learn and reflect on it, then help them find the solution to fix and solve their problems. If people have the correct mindset, they wouldn’t fear to make mistakes anymore and ultimately punish themselves for it. The thing is, depressed people tend to punish themselves because they don’t know what else to do. They don’t know how to solve or fix their mistakes and disappointments so for them, the punishment seems like the only thing that’ll actually work.

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