For some the holiday season and the end of the year can be extremely overwhelming and debilitating for some, to the point of self-harm or self harm ideation / tendencies. It’s most likely that these people were struggling with something internally, whether consciously or subconsciously. The added stress of the holidays and the end of the year approaching can be a trigger.
If you are one of those people? What can you do? First, remember this: Self-harm, more specifically suicide, is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It just doesn’t feel like it’s temporary. We are still not at a point where mental health is treated like physical health. In fact, in many cultures the “we don’t talk about emotions” rule still applies. This compounds the issue. There are actually many resources to be accessed such as national suicide prevention hotlines (In the U.S. you can call or text to the Suicide Prevention Hotline. Either call 1-800-273-8255 or text BRAVE to 741 741). But they are only effective if you use them. There is no need to feel that you have to handle the emotions and feeling alone. You don’t even have to be suicidal to use them. Use them even if you are just emotionally distraught.
What if you come across someone who is contemplating self-harm? Hand them those numbers and encourage them to call or text. Unless you are a mental health professional, please do not attempt to handle it yourself. You may unintentionally make things worse. Telling people they have so much to live for or that self-harm is a selfish act only makes them feel guilty and more likely to go to the next step.
Adolescents are particularly vulnerable because their frontal lobes, the problem-solving portion of the brain, is not fully developed. If you are a parent, always keep a finger on the pulse of your teenager’s emotions. They are even more vulnerable if they’ve been bullied.
Remember, friends don’t let friends commit self-harm.
Tikkun Olam- heal the world. Leave it a better place when you leave.