Self Harm Awareness Day

women in recovery

Self-Harm Awareness Day sheds light on behaviors cloaked in stigma and misunderstanding. This day is dedicated to breaking down the barriers of silence, encouraging understanding about self-harm and its underlying causes like trauma. By increasing awareness, Self-Harm Awareness Day highlights the importance of seeking help and support without fear of stigma.

Women and Self Harm

Self-harm, a coping mechanism for overwhelming emotions or situations, has been found to be significantly prevalent among women, who may be more likely to engage in self-harming behaviors as a way to process emotional pain.

Signs of Self Harm

Signs of self-harm can can range from physical injuries to less visible forms like reckless behavior. They may include physical, behavioral or emotional signs:


Cuts and Burns: Often on the wrists, arms, legs, or chest.
Frequent “Accidents:” Often with varied and inconsistent explanations for injuries.
Covering Up: Wearing long sleeves or pants in hot weather to cover scars or new injuries.
Sharp Objects: Having items like blades, knives, or needles


Isolation: Withdrawing from friends, family, and social activities.
Unusual Behaviors: Increasingly secretive, distant, and isolated
Risk-Taking Behavior: Engaging in dangerous activities and showing more self punishment or self-destructive behavior.
Substance Abuse: Using drugs or alcohol to cope with emotional pain


Emotional Volatility: Experiencing rapid mood changes or being emotionally unstable.
Low Self-esteem: Talking down about themselves, isolating or expressing feelings of worthlessness.
Unable to Process Feelings: Having a hard time managing feelings of anger, sadness, or frustration.

Trauma and Self-Harm

The link between trauma and self-harm is well-documented in clinical research, showing a complex relationship where self-harm serves as a coping mechanism for women who have experienced traumatic events. Women, who are statistically more likely to experience certain forms of trauma such as sexual assault, domestic violence, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or neglect can lead to overwhelming feelings of anxiety, depression, and dissociation and powerlessness. This behavior can be an attempt to regain control over their bodies and lives, to express pain that feels inexpressible in words, or to momentarily alleviate emotional distress.

The physical act of self-injury, while providing a temporary sense of relief or a dissociative calm through endorphin release, unfortunately, perpetuates a cycle of pain rather than resolving the underlying trauma. This makes it crucial for therapeutic interventions to not only address the physical aspects of self-harm but also to deeply understand and treat the emotional and psychological impacts of trauma specific to women’s experiences. Tailored approaches that consider gender-specific aspects of trauma and coping strategies are essential to our program at The Pearl to provide effective support and promote alternative coping mechanisms for women dealing with the aftereffects of trauma.

Treatment for Self-Harm and Trauma

The Pearl’s mission is centered around treating the complex and sensitive interplay between self-harm, addiction, and trauma. Our specialized addiction treatment center for women offers advanced clinical practices housed in a sanctuary in the quintessential beach town of Pensacola, FL. Our secure and supportive space gently disentangles the damaging coping strategies women arrive with. Women are equipped with sustainable and impactful tools for emotional resilience and strength.