"Self-injury is not worth it. You are. Hang in there. Believe in yourself." - testimonial from a teenager in recovery. The statistics are alarmingly high: 14 to 24 per cent of high school students engage in self-injury - whether it's by cutting, scratching, burning or bruising themselves. And in the age of the Internet, chat rooms are abuzz with stories of teens harming themselves, while videos pop up constantly on YouTube showing examples of how to hide one's scars with makeup.
To counter the digital glorification of self-injury, a McGill University psychology professor and a clinical psychologist from Guelph University this week launched a website that debunks the myths surrounding such self-destructive behaviour. More important, it provides the resources for those seeking to recover. With virtually no publicity, the Self-injury and Outreach Support site (sioutreach.org) has attracted more than 600 online visitors in only two days.
"Absolutely, we're fighting fire with fire," said Nancy Heath, a James McGill professor in educational and counselling psychology. "There's a lot of stuff that's out there that's very worrisome.