COVID-19 and Mental Health Considerations Amid Reintegration to School

6.0 Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI)

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

- Maya Angelou

Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), also known as self-harm, self-mutilation, or cutting, is the deliberate, self-inflicted destruction of body tissue, done without suicidal intent. The average age of onset for NSSI is between 12 and 14 years old. It is most common with adolescents and young adults, but there are very young children and elderly people who self-injure. Although NSSI is more prevalent in females, males also self-harm. It is culturally “expected” that males who follow gender norms have more bruises and cuts, so it often goes undetected.

The prevalence of NSSI behavior in all genders is unknown, as NSSI is frequently carried out in secret and evidence of the behavior is hidden. NSSI co-occurs with another mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression, 40-90% of the time. Childhood abuse and neglect are correlated with an increased risk for NSSI and suicidal behavior.

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