Self-injury is a non-suicidal form of self-harm which is intended to hurt oneself on the surface of the body and can include cutting, burning, or punching oneself (among other forms). It is a way to deal with emotional pain and can have similar features to other addictive behaviors because it can cause temporary emotional relief but is often followed by feelings of shame and guilt and accompanied with secretive behaviors.
Self-harm is also dangerous as it has been shown to have a "cluster effect" meaning that the occurrence of self-harm can increase for those who are in close proximity to those who self-harm. Oftentimes individuals who self-harm are not doing it for attention but rather are trying to express (however unhealthy) painful emotions.
This Halloween, stores are selling "suicide scar" make up. We at Birch Counseling want to increase awareness, and as mental health professionals want to note that this "costume" increases stigma, may prevent those who are secretly struggling from seeking help, and may spark an increase in self-harming behaviors. Self-injury is not a joke and should not be treated as such.
We want you to know that if you self-harm, you are not alone, we understand and we're here to help.