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Self-harm a sign of emotional pain rather than cry for help

Most people who self-harm do so as a way to deal with emotional distress rather than as a cry for help, research suggests
Emotional distress

Most people who self-harm do so as a way to deal with emotional distress rather than as a cry for help, research suggests.

Non-suicidal self-injury affects up to 17% of adolescents and young adults.

Studies say it is associated with a range of psychological difficulties including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Though many use it as a way to cope, it is also a risk factor for later suicide.

A study found that between 63% and 78% of non-suicidal people who self-injure do it as a short-term strategy to ease their emotional distress.

It found that while people may harm themselves as a way to communicate with or influence others only about 23% to 33% of people who self-injure say they do this.

Ways to cope

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of

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