Every year, Self-Injury Awareness Day falls on 1 March and, with it comes an opportunity to raise awareness about self-injury or self-harm, to reduce stigma, and to point people towards help and support available.
Self-harm can be a difficult and sensitive topic to talk about and understand. While it may be linked with mental health difficulties, such as depression or eating disorders, self-harm is not a mental health condition or diagnosis in its own right. It can take diverse forms, and people may engage in various self-injuring behaviours for different reasons and at different times.
Informing ourselves about self-harm is important so that we can recognise self-harming behaviours and better support those experiencing them. To help with this and to mark Self-Injury Awareness Day, we’ve compiled a range of information, reports and presentations on self-harm below.
Responding meaningfully to self-harm
Read a piece by our team which delves into how we can increase our knowledge of self-harm and provide non-judgmental responses to people experiencing it.Click here to read the piece
Looking back at conferences
In previous years, we hosted an annual Self-Harm Awareness Conference (SHAC) in partnership with Pieta. From firsthand experience from mental health ambassadors to insight into the challenges and opportunities of different interventions, you can look back at the conferences and find more helpful information and resources.
Please note that, while there a SHAC will not be going ahead in 2021, we will be running a number of online events throughout the year relating to self-harm; check our events section or sign up to our newsletter to get updates on when these are taking place.
2020: Dave Rudden, and mental health in the Traveller community
The fifth SHAC focused on responding to high-risk groups such as adolescents and members of the Traveller community. Topics included the therapeutic use of metaphor when treating young people who self-harm, the assessment and management of patients presenting to emergency departments following self-harm, and actions needed to improve mental health within the Traveller community. The individual lived experience of self-harm and the journey of recovery was also discussed when award-winning author and screenwriter Dave Rudden joined us a guest speaker.
2019: Self-harm in young people and the LGBTI+ community
Risk factors and interventions around self-harm and suicide in young people and self-harm in the LGBTI+ community were explored in our 2019 conference, with speakers from the National Suicide Research Foundation and BelongTo. A practical guide for parents, carers and educators of young people who self-harm was also shared.
2018: Eoghan McDermott, and tools for teachers, parents and friends
In 2018, we heard from RTÉ 2FM broadcaster and mental health ambassador, Eoghan Mc Dermott, on his experience of self-harm. Members of our Psychology Department later spoke on “walking the middle path” and regulating emotion when dealing with self-harm. Tools for teachers, parents and friends who a person might first disclose their experience of self-harm to were also shared to help towards accepting, supportive responses. Speakers from Pieta then looked at how self-care can play into support for self-harm, while a representative from the United Kingdom-based support group, Battle Scars, exposed some of the myths around self-harm.
2017: Blindboy, and reducing self-harm in the autism community
In 2017, SHAC provided a mix of practical workshops and presentations for teachers, school staff, community workers, parents and students. Speakers included Blindboy Boatclub of the Rubberbandits and Blindboy Podcast; Dr Niall Muldoon of the Ombudsman for Children; and Adam Harris of AsIAm, and more.
If you would like support for self-harm or if you are concerned about someone you know, help is available through the helplines and support services below. The Health Service Executive (HSE) also shares information on self-harm which you might find helpful.
Support and Information Line
HSE Your Mental Health
Freephone the Your Mental Health Infoline to find supports and services near you: this is available at any time on 1800 111 888.
You can also use the free, 24/7 Text 50808 text service, which offers chats and support to people going through emotional or mental health crises: text "HELLO" to the number 50800 at any time to get in touch.
If you or a family member are self-harming or having suicidal thoughts, you can contact Pieta’s 24-hour helpline on 1890 130 022 or 1800 247 247.
Call 116 123, 24 hours a day to contact the Samaritans’ helpline, which aims to provide emotional support at any time you may need it.
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