Many people have scars from past self-harm behaviours. The scars are often a source of shame and embarrassment, and there are countless articles online about how to hide them and cover them up. And yet, self-harm behaviours are very common. According to a survey conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, 2 out of every 10 youth aged 14-21 has hurt themselves on purpose at one time or another.
Scars can be a painful reminder of dark and hopeless times. Even during and after recovery, scars remain, and can trigger many painful feelings and memories. Learning to accept one’s scars can be a long and difficult process. It is sad enough that people struggle with self-harm behaviours and scar acceptance. What is even more sad is the fact that self-harm scars are still often considered shameful by the general public.
It is of course important to properly support someone who is actively self-harming. For more information on how to do this, you can visit http://www.befrienders.org/how-to-support-someone-who-self-harms.
Moreover, we need to promote self-harm scar acceptance. Help someone with a history of self-harm learn to accept themselves. Don’t judge someone negatively just because they have scars. Don’t ask or comment about scars in any setting other than one that is private and supportive. Remember that self-harm scars are battle wounds that can be indicative of past troubles, and can hold a great significance to the individual. Be supportive, non-judgmental, and understanding.
And remember, not all scars are visible.