We are all in this together: Working towards a holistic understanding of self-harm

Maggie Long, Roger Manktelow, Anne Tracey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Self-harm is a widespread and controversial issue in contemporary society. Statistics arebased on reported incidents and therefore do not accurately reveal prevalence, asself-harm is often a hidden behaviour. This highlights the essential need for practitionersand society to work towards reducing the stigma surrounding self-harm. Thispaper goes some way towards understanding the impact of self-harm on individualsand communities. It begins by exploring terminologies and definitions of self-harm anddiscusses the importance of sensitivity in language use relating to self-harm. It continuesby examining types of self-harm and subsequently presents life experiences thatmay contribute to the onset of self-harm. The paper elucidates the cultural, historicaland religious origins of self-harm, indicating the ways in which self-harm has evolvedwith us as part of our humanity. Moreover, literature relating to the significance ofstigma and attitudes is examined, followed by issues around psychiatric diagnosespertaining to self-harm. The paper concludes by synthesizing literature relevant to therelationship between self-harm and suicide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-113
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 4 Feb 2013


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