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Step Right Up Ladies and Gentlemen!

I would like to present to you, a PERFECT SCORE speech. Yeah, that's right. A++++++++++++. 130 outta 130. *brushes shoulders off*

Our only speech requirements were it had to be a persuasive speech and be between 6-8mins long. We also had to have a visual aid...but I really couldn't think of one. =\ So I didn't have one. XD

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How many of you know what self-harm is? Well it's said that 1 in 25 Americans will self-harm at least once in their lives. People need to be aware that self-harm is serious and not something to be overlooked. In this speech I will talk about types of self-harm, why people self-harm, some warning signs and ways to help someone you know, who may be self-harming.

Self-harm, or self-injury involves self-inflicted bodily harm that is severe enough to either cause tissue damage or leave marks that do not fade within hours. The most common form of self-harm, or actually what would be more appropriate, the most well-known form of self-harm is cutting. There are many other types of self-harm though. There is biting, burning, scratching, skin picking, hair-pulling, hitting the body with objects or hitting objects with the body, and multiple tattooing or piercings for reasons other than decorative.

It's hard to know how common self-injury is, due to the fact that most self-injurers do it secretly and never ask for help. Based on most studies, self-harm is most commonly known in the teen population. But it's definitely not limited to just that age group. A self-injurer can be of any age, sex, nationality, etc. One percent of Americans self-harm. That is about 2million people in the United States that self-harm. Studies indicate that amongst young people 13 years of age or old, females are three times more likely to self-injure than males. But males are more likely to participate in more violent acts of self-harm.

Self-harm is not suicidal behavior. Self-harm can in-fact reduce the tension that could result in an actual suicide. But it's definitely not recommended by psychiatrists to engage in any type of self-harm, even if you are suicidal. Acts done for ritual, sexual or ornamental purposes are not considered self-harm. Understanding self-harm is the first step to changing it. It's always hard for people to understand why others self-harm. It's usually the thought of injuring ones self that makes other cringe. Self-harm should be taken seriously. It's just like any addictive behavior, and yes it is in-fact addictive. It needs to be treated just like you would treat any addiction.

Self-harm is a coping mechanism for emotional distress. Most people self-harm to try to externalize their emotional pain. Make it physical. They use self-harm as a way to control their pain, because physical pain is so much easier to control than emotional pain. There are other reasons why people self-harm. Some do it to punish themselves for something they might have done. Others use it to relieve stress or tension, to relax and calm themselves. Some even self-harm as a way to feel alive, real. They feel so ignored and so numb that they have to self-harm to know that they actually exist. But most of all, self-harm is a cry for help.

There are many myths associated with self-harm, but I'm only going to address two of them.
"People who self-harm are just trying to get attention."
We all seek attention all the time. Wanting attention isn't sick or bad. If someone is in so much distress and feels so ignored that the only way they can think of expressing their pain is by hurting themselves, then something is definitely wrong in their life and it's not a time to be making moral judgments about their behavior. Most people who self-injure go to great lengths to hide their wounds or scars. Many consider self-harm to be a deeply shameful secret and are completely terrified of others finding out that they injure themselves.
"If wounds aren't 'bad enough' self-harm isn't serious."
This is absolutely ridiculous. The severity of someones wounds DOES NOT determine how much emotional stress one is going through. People have different methods of self-harm and different pain tolerances. The only way to really know how much distress someone is going through is to ask them. Never assume.

Some warning signs of self-harm is a preference to wear concealing clothing all the time like wearing long sleeves in the summer. Also avoiding situations where more revealing clothes would be expected like going swimming. Unusually frequent complaints of accidental injury is also a sign. A cat owner may claim that the scars on their arm, are from their cat.

It's very hard to realize that someone you care about is harming themselves. You're concern could actually come out as frustration and comments may actually drive the person away. It is import to understand that what they are doing is a way to maintain a certain amount of control, it's their way of self-soothing. Let them know you care and that you will always listen. Encourage them to express their feelings, even anger. This will draw them away from self-harm. Spend time with them doing things that both of you enjoy. This is also away of distracting them. You could also offer a therapist or a group they could attend, but you should NEVER EVER make judgmental comments. Like, "why do you do that?" "that's crazy!" "you need some serious help if you are doing that." People who feel worthless and powerless are even more likely to injure.

Self-Injury Awareness day is March 1st. I encourage all of you to try and make people aware of this problem. Many people show their support by wearing orange ribbons, much like the breast cancer awareness ribbons. They wear them to make people aware and to show them that self-injury IS a problem.

Now you know some forms of self-harm and reasons people do it. I hope you have a sense of understanding so you are able to identify any warning signs I have mentioned and try your best to help. Self-harm is not a joke, and it's not something to brush off. It's serious and more people should be aware of that.

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I swear it sounded better when I gave the speech. =\

Tell me what you think! I personally think it's a way too easy class, and it's an alright speech. I probably performed a lot better than I normally would have, seeing as I started working on the speech at 2am the night before...topic and EVERYTHING. XD I got two hours of sleep and was too tired to be nervous, so I guess that helped me!! lol Thank goodness it was our last speech. =)

Comments

( 1 loves me — Love me? )
hidingtosurvive
Nov. 9th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
That was really good! *applauds*
( 1 loves me — Love me? )

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