Self Injury Awareness

Blanchard, Stephanie, Jude Coger, Andrea Katsiyiannis, Danielle Redding, Samantha Wright, Andrea Kwasky, Erin Henze, and Carla Groh

Background: Self-Injury (SI) is more commonly seen in adolescents and young adults. SI affects 17% of college students, where 20% are women and 14% are men. SI is when a person does deliberate and direct harm to one’s body without having any suicidal intent. The most common methods of SI is burning, cutting, and scratching. These people harm themselves because they are dealing intense emotions that they are not able to tolerate on their own. They also harm themselves to punish themselves when they feel guilty and did not do something right.


Presentation A discussion panel was organized with the aim to increase understand of what SI is and explore how to get professional help. The panel consisted of three speakers who spoke about SI from their various backgrounds. Dr Susan Birndorf, psychologist, gave an introduction on SI and identifiers for the audience to use in determining if someone self harms. In addition, she spoke on interventions and therapy that she frequently uses in her practice. Dr. Sharla Fasko is a mother of someone who participates in self harm activities. Her story gave another aspect of SI, as she highlighted the events leading up to her daughter’s participation in harming herself and how she was able to support her. Finally, Stephanie Blanchard, a student who attends UDM discussed her personal struggle. Having many different perspectives on SI gave the audience a full depiction of self injury.


At the close of the event, we held a question and answer session. This allowed for the attendee’s to clarify any information they may have not fully understood.


Results: An 11 question Lickert scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree) was used to survey those who attended the presentation. A total of 104 attendee’s completed surveys, of those surveyed, 93% said that a presentation related to SI should be offered annually at UDM. In addition, 87% either strongly agreed or agreed that this presentation was educational. Less than 1% of attendee’s reported that they didn’t know more about self-injury after attending the presentation. 92% of participants strongly agreed/agreed that the speakers on the panel added to their knowledge and positively influenced their learning.


Conclusion: Overall, this presentation was beneficial to those that attended. The survey’s provided information that allows for SI to be a useful annual topic for education to spread awareness. As for the speakers, this was an effective way of communicating information to the audience. We hope that the data collected will help to guide the planning for 2015.