Counseling Center

Self-Injury

Self-injury can be a way of expressing and coping with deep distress and emotional pain. As counterintuitive as it may sound to others, hurting yourself makes you feel better, by providing a release or distraction from emotional pain.  However, the relief doesn’t last, and when difficulty feelings return, so does the urge to hurt yourself.  Students who self-injure are often concerned about telling other people, including counselors or other professional staff, for fear of judgment or negative repercussions.  At Amherst, we recognize that self-injury is not the same as suicidal behavior, and won’t force you to stop until you are ready and have developed other coping strategies for managing painful emotions.

Recognize                                             

  • Your emotions feel overwhelming or unbearable
  • You engage in self-injury, by cutting, burning, hitting, scratching, etc.
  • You keep evidence of self-injury (e.g. cuts, scars, razors) hidden
  • You feel embarrassment, shame or guilt about the self-harm

Resources

On Campus (413-542-extension):

Off Campus