Self Injury Facts

Examples of self injurious behaviors include cutting, burning, scratching, picking scabs, punching self/objects, bruising or breaking bones, and hair pulling.

Basic Facts

  • More prevalent among females, although many males do self-injure
  • Usually begins after puberty, lasts 5-10 years or sometimes longer if not treated
  • Often have history of emotional suppression – significant people in their lives have discouraged expression of emotions like anger and sadness
  • Generally NOT a suicide attempt – but could be

Some Reasons Why

Affect Regulation – trying to manage emotions

  • Escape numbness: To feel something.
  • Provide relief: When intense feelings build, self-injurers feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. By causing physical pain, they can reduce (let out) the pressure of emotional pain.

Communication – trying to express things they cannot say

  • Relieve anger: Many self-injurers have enormous amounts of rage held within. Afraid to express it outwardly by other means, they injure themselves as a way to vent these feelings.
  • A way to tell others the extent of their inner turmoil.
  • Communicating a need for support.


  • If abused as children, they may be continuing abusive patterns.
  • Obtain or maintain influence over the behaviors of others.
  • Stop dissociation, flashbacks ("to bring themselves back").
  • To exert a sense of control over one's body when otherwise feeling out of control.

Contact Us

Personal Counseling Center
Campus location: Marguerite Hall, 1st FL
Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Evening Hours by Appointment
Phone: (716) 829-7819

Kim Zittel, LMHC, NCC
Director, Personal Counseling Center
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
National Certified Counselor

Erin M. Moss, MA, LMHC-P
Mental Health Counselor

Isabel Molina, APRN BC
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner


  • Campus Ministry

    Our campus ministers are available for spiritual counseling and support
    Read more

  • Health Center

    The D'Youville College Health Center provides information, health counseling, and emergency treatment.
    Read more

  • Concerned?

    If you know a student who seems to be in trouble or may potentially harm themselves, report it to the Students of Concern Committee.
    Read more

  • Disabled?

    D'Youville's Disability Services Office can find you the resources you need for academic success.
    Read more

Back To Top