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Self-harm behaviors increasing among students

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Research by a group of lecturers from the HCM City University of Education has found signs of self-destructive behavior in 84 percent of secondary school students in the city.

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Researchers found self-destructive behavior in 84% of secondary school students in HCMC


The repetitive acts include physical self-harm. There are three levels of self-destructive behaviors classified according to vulnerability. At the low level, students have negative thoughts, stress and feel pressure. 

At the moderate level, students tear their hair out, punch and strike themselves, while the highest level includes suicide, cutting limbs and injuring themselves. The actions of this kind are often associated with mental illness.

Surveying 1,028 secondary school students in the inner city, Associate Prof Dr Huynh Van Son and his colleagues found signs of self-destructive behaviors in 838 students. Of these, 374 students felt tired and discouraged and don’t want to continue living, while 344 students have negative thoughts about life.

The survey also found that 4.1 percent committed self-destructive behaviors at high level. Many of them had plans to commit suicide, or had tried to commit suicide. 

The majority of the students admitted they began self-destructive behaviors many years ago, while some of them started so long ago that they cannot remember the exact time.

“For me, life is too harsh” is the feeling of the majority of students who have problems. When striking or punching themselves, the students want to show that ‘I bear great misery in silence’ and ‘this is the way I do to try to forget about bad things’.

Poor learning results, poor relations with parents and family members and lovelornness are the major reasons behind sadness and self-destructive behaviors.

Tien Phong quoted Duong Minh Tam, a physician from the Mental Health Institute, as saying that those people who maltreat themselves usually begin with scalding or cutting their hands with a razor blade. They usually do it in a secret way, in a dark room, bedroom or bathroom.

According to Tam, research had found that the habit of hurting themselves can help produce natural anesthetics in the body, thus reducing mental pain. 

Dr Nguyen Doan Phuong, head of the Mental Health Institute, said the self-injury syndrome can destroys a patient’s body gradually. The problem is that the syndrome mostly occurs with young people.

“Though they only cause pains and don’t lead to immediate death, self-inflicting behaviors are still considered suicidal behavior,” Phuong said.

Psychological counseling divisions will be set up at all schools under a decision by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) followed experts’ warnings about the increasingly high number of students committing suicide because of depression.



Source: Tien Phong - VietNamNet

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