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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Letters to Editors

to: Daily Telegraph

re: "This 'epidemic' is all selfishness"

Dear Editor,

I was appalled to read Mr McKinstry's article about self injury being selfish and attention-seeking.

Self harm, or self injury, is the result of intense mental and emotional distress, and becomes a coping mechanism (albeit a seemingly counter-productive one) which can not only relieve high levels of distress, but also prevent the sufferer from doing further harm to themselves.

Comparatively few people who self-harm present for medical treatment afterwards. Many feel they do not deserve treatment, others are scared of the treatment they may receive, and as for most people self harm is an intensely private act, there is a lot of shame and humiliation about showing others your injuries.

This means that people patch themselves up when many do have injuries which require specialist attention.

Contrary to Mr McKinstry's accusations, self harm is not the epitome of attention-seeking behaviour. It is a desperate and devastating way of coping with immense distress.

Yours faithfully,

to: Guardian

re: Cut it out, please

Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to the above article written by Rachel James.

She clearly has little understanding of the dynamics of self harm, and
the sheer number of people who refuse to seek medical treatment as a
result of the views of medical professionals like her.

Discouraging people who have self-harmed from seeking treatment seems
highly irresponsible as the consequences of this could be - and indeed
all too often are - fatal.

Yours faithfully,