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Non-suicidal self-injury: Demographics, self-harm events, characteristics, and reasons

Iman Ahmed Haji, Ahmed Malalla Al-Ansari, Wafa Ibrahim Sharbati, Amani Abdulla Al-Sabbagh, Aysha Abdulateef Al-Muqahwi.


Background: Suicide and suicide attempt rates for children and adolescents have been increasing overtime.

Objectives: Our objectives were to study the characteristics of adolescents who practice non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) with respect to the self-harm events and motives.

Materials and Methods: The cases consisted of 25 adolescents referred to the School Health Psychiatric Clinic with NSSI. Diagnoses were made according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th edition. A collection sheet was designed to obtain information regarding case demographics, type of injury, injury characters, and reasons for self-harm events.

Results: The majority of cases were young female adolescents (84%) whose parents had received a good education; most had used cuts with sharp objects (92%). The cuts were carried out alone (92%) and within 1 h of thought acquisition. All cases were exposed to maltreatment during childhood. Half of the cases had obtained the idea from friends and one-third from social media. The stated reasons were controlling stress in 60%, coping with loneliness in 32%, and experiencing in 32%.

Conclusion: NSSI is common among young adolescent girls, and practitioners should routinely inquire about its presence in clinical interviews and during periodic health surveys. The management of negative emotions is an essential step toward prevention.

Key words: Adolescents; Bahrain; Non-suicidal Self-injury; Suicidal Thoughts; Self-harm

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