Suicide vs. Self Harm: Signs & Prevention Resources

suicide vs. self harm signs and prevention

Suicide and Self-Harm Resources

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Available 24 hours 1-800-273-TALK (8255) English & Spanish
  • SafeUT App Connects directly to the UNI Crisis Line
  • Provo Canyon Behavioral Hospital Open 24 hours 1-801-852-CARE (2273) 1350 E 750 N St, Orem, UT 84097
  • American Fork Hospital Open 24 hours (801) 855-3300 170 N 1100 E, American Fork, UT 84003
  • Utah Valley Regional Medical Center Open 24 hours (801) 357-7850 1034 N 500 W, Provo, UT 84604

Possible Motivations for Self-Harm

Self-harm occurs in various forms; including, but not limited to, cutting, burning, or punching oneself (Brown & Kimball, 2013). Self-harm is a complex and often misunderstood issue. Self-harm can serve as a means to deal with overwhelming emotions.

Oftentimes, self-harm is applied when traumatized individuals experience isolation and have difficulty dealing with and expressing emotions (Brown & Kimball, 2013). Self-harm serves as something they have control over, as opposed to the trauma that is not self-controlled (Brown & Kimball, 2013). Self- harm releases endogenous opioids, creating a “euphoric” feeling, which can become addicting (Brown & Kimball, 2013).

Self-harming behavior is sometimes correlated with suicide risk and should be sensitively addressed by empathic clinicians. Knowing self-harming behavior is an unhealthy coping emotional regulation mechanism can help clinicians to create a plan to help the client develop skills to increase emotional management through therapies such as cognitive behavioral and/or dialectical behavioral (Brown & Kimball, 2013).

Possible Reasons for Experiencing Suicidal Ideation

Suicidal ideation is complex and life threatening. Risk factors include various emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, family member mental illness, parental divorce or separation, alcohol and substance abuse  (Dube et. al, 2001). Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications can, in some cases, exacerbate suicidal ideations.

Whatever the reasons for the suicidal ideations, immediate professional help is crucial. Suicidal ideations are described as rushing, traumatic, overwhelming, and exhausting (Pederson, 2014). Suicidal ideations can leave a person feeling vulnerable, ashamed, guilty, and completely powerless (Pederson, 2014).  Trained depression and anxiety therapists apply appropriate therapies to help the client regain control and regulate their mental and emotional wellbeing.


Brown, T. B., & Kimball, T. (2013). Cutting to Live: A Phenomenology of Self-Harm. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 39(2), 195-208. doi:

Dube SR, Anda RF, Felitti VJ, Chapman DP, Williamson DF, Giles WH. Childhood Abuse, Household Dysfunction, and the Risk of Attempted Suicide Throughout the Life Span: Findings From the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. JAMA. 2001;286(24):3089–3096. doi:

Pederson, L. Utilizing narrative ideas when meeting with people experiencing suicidal thoughts. Dulwiche Centre.