March 1 is Self-injury Awareness Day (SIAD), a grassroots global awareness event focused on self-injury and its commonly associated behaviors. Awareness organizations work to provide resources for people in need and pass around knowledge on self-injury. People who commit or have committed self-injury are also encouraged to speak out about their experiences in the hopes that their story will help others.
Self-injury Awareness Day History
SIAD started about 20 years ago and is an internationally recognized event. Being of grassroots origins, nobody owns SAID and you don’t need permission to participate. An orange ribbon represents SAID awareness. The color symbolizes hope for a misunderstood problem. While raising awareness won’t completely solve the problem, it can lead to understanding. When we understand the problem, we can start working toward change.
What is Self-Injury?
Self-injury is a coping mechanism. It is deliberate, non-suicidal behavior in which a person physically harms themselves with the hope of relieving emotional pain. Physical pain, according to LifeSIGNS, a self-injury guidance charity organization, is easier to handle than emotional turmoil. Those who self-harm believe physical pain produces ‘real’ feelings. It provides validity to their internal issues. The relief they feel, however, is temporary. Self-injury doesn’t address the actual emotional problems at hand. Harming oneself to relieve stress or ‘wake up’ from feelings of dissociation can become a go-to response to daily anxieties and escalate in severity.
More on Self-Injury
There are numerous resources and organizations available to teach you more about self-injury and how you can help. Here are a few to get you started.
Post with the hashtag #SIAD. The purpose is to raise awareness free of prejudice or judgment. It’s important to remember that those who self-injure are suffering profoundly. Self-injury is not a personal weakness. We must strive to remove the stigma surrounding self-injury and usher in an environment of kindness, empathy, and compassion.
Self-Injury Awareness Day - video slideshow from LifeSIGNS