Self-Harm: it affects adults too

Self-Harm: it affects adults too

It’s National Self-Harm Awareness Day, a hugely important day for anyone impacted by self-harm (for more on why, see yesterday’s post – and an opportunity for us to challenge common misconceptions and reinforce truth.

This year I’m reinforcing this one: self-harm affects adults too. I’m PASSIONATELY in favour of providing all the help and support I can possibly muster to reach young people and stop them going from where so many of us have been, but it’s really important we acknowledge that self-harm is a very real issue for many, many adults – and we need to be much more proactive in saying that.

MYTH – self-harm only affects young people

FACT – self-harm affects people of ALL ages, including the very young and very old.

MYTH – self-harm only affects girls and women

FACT – self-harm also affects boys and men

Very seldom is adult self-harm covered in the media or highlighted as being an issue – and that absolutely needs to change. This ongoing wall of silence that continues to exist makes it incredibly difficult for adults to ask for help, and yet it’s vitally important they do because:

Adults are just as important as young people; we don’t lose value with age

Adults make up our workforce, pay taxes and keep our economy afloat

Adults parent, and there’s no greater responsibility than that

Adults have unfulfilled dreams and aspirations too

Adults are entitled to live in freedom too. End of.

And that’s the point. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you feel, no one should live a life blighted by self-harm and everyone should have access to the care, help and ongoing support that they need in order to make the (sometimes long) walk to recovery. Whether you’ve been self-harming 5 minutes or 15 years, that path to freedom still exists – but taking those first wobbly steps is made so much harder when you’ve got your teenage years behind you… and your 20’s, 30’s or even 40’s may have become but a distant memory. But it’s still there and it’s time we figured out how to start finding it again.

I’ll continue to champion young people and early intervention / prevention programmes, because the more effective they are, the greater chance there will be of adult lives not overshadowed by self-harm, BUT – that’s too little too late for too many, and it’s time adults struggling with self-harm stopped being a forgotten generation.

Self-harm: it affects adults too.


@FreedomFromHarm | @RachelWelch

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