Frequently asked questions

Is self harm a suicide attempt?


By definition, self harm is not a suicide attempt. Self harm is an indirect attempt to keep living rather than an attempt to die.

Not everyone who self harms is suicidal. However, those people have a higher risk of having suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

If you are worried about someone’s safety, contact your local authorities.

To learn more about what self harm is, click here!

If you want to read more …

  • The Cornell Research Program on Self-injury and Recovery. Is self-injury a suicidal act? Retrieved from
  • Centre for suicide prevention. Self-harm and Suicide. Retrieved from
  • International Society for the Study of Self-injury. NSSI and suicide. Retrieved from:

Is self harm attention seeking?

Most likely not

Some do self harm to receive support from those around them or to imitate friends. But most people will feel ashamed of their behavior and go to great lengths to hide it.

To learn more about common reasons why someone might self harm, click here!

Is self harm a diagnosis?

Not currently

While self harm is receiving more and more attention, it is not yet an official diagnosis.

To learn more on that, read this article about self harm and the DSM

Is self harm a girl thing?


Contrary to popular belief, females do not seem to be more likely to be affected by self harm.

To learn more about who is affected by self harm, click here!

Is self harm only cutting?


Cutting is the most known-about form of self harm. However, this is a misconception that leads many to thinking their behaviors are not problematic.

Many other behaviors, for example burning, hitting, or scratching, fit the definition of self harm.

To learn more about what self harm is, click here !

Are eating disorders self harm?


Eating disorders cause self-inflicted damage to the body and can have similar mechanisms to self harm, like the need to feel in control or to punish oneself.

However, even though some mental health professionals still are confused about this point, eating disorders are not considered self harm.

The two main differences are the intent and the time of the damage:

  • In self harm, hurting your body is the main goal, while in eating disorders the damage caused by the behaviors is often not the main desired outcome.
  • In self harm, the damage is immediate. In eating disorders, the damage is usually compounded over many months or years.

To learn more about what self harm is, click here !