I am not justifying it as a good thing to do whatsoever, it is an unhealthy coping strategy that needs to be talked about and treated to find alternative ways of managing difficult feelings that are not so damaging. Still, you can't find an alternative until you know what purpose self-harm serves in general or for you personally, so here goes...
Self harming can become an addiction, this is something many people don't understand. The feelings you get from releasing your sadness, anger, distress into the self harm becomes addictive. It becomes a need. I have been addicted to drugs and alcohol and self harm has been far harder to kick than either of these.
Fortunately, things have moved on somewhat from my own school days. We have a far better understanding of self-harm and eating disorders - unfortunately that's at least in part due to a huge increase in prevalence in both conditions which has forced us to learn, fast, and taught us some difficult lessons along the way.
It's an obvious question: how could hurting yourself provide any relief? Unfortunately I am seasoned to self-harm and its effects. I honestly wish I could be writing this with no scars from the times I hurt myself but I am scarred. I wish I lived without the urges but I occasionally yearn for the pain.
Instrumental quite rightly reminds us that no matter how offenders try to excuse their appalling behaviour it is never the child's fault - the survivor has absolutely nothing to apologise for. But the road to recovery is frequently bumpy, sometimes tortuous but always worth the journey, which is why we need far more investment in therapeutic and mental health services.
I worry about my health, I know I could die, I know I could lose out on life and opportunities if I am not well enough to grasp them with both hands. It's a spiral and it's all spinning around my head and it's making me dizzy. I'm constantly out of breath. Exhausted. Exhausted by this mental illness.
What is more interesting to me as a psychologist, lies in what it is about people who identify so much with the Zayn's, the Diana's or the Gary's, that they struggle to cope at the 'death' or departure of someone/something they did not really know. I am also equally intrigued by what many of these grieving fans will do as a way to cope with their loss.
When there is such an emphasis on achieving, regular assessments, bigger class sizes at school with lessons led by overworked teachers dealing with classes of children with increased varying educational needs and staff without adequate support or training, these statistics support my experience of children that are stressed and unable to articulate their feelings.