Two teens spoke up about self-injury and the power of hope during a presentation at McDowell High School Tuesday.
In honor of Self-injury of Awareness Day, the two shared their stories and spoke up about the issue that affects so many.
Self-injury is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. Those who self-injure do so not in an attempt to commit suicide, but as a way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger or frustration.
Former MHS student Sara Ginn spoke to students about self-injury last year before she graduated. The young woman decided to do so again this year to help those who might be going through the same thing that she did.
“Many of you probably don’t know me, but last year I spoke to the school about self-injury,” Ginn told an audience of 10th-graders. “This year, I’ve returned to talk to you a little bit about it and introduce a current student who was inspired to talk about her experiences.”
After summarizing her story, Ginn introduced current junior Ashley Williams to captivated audience members.
“There are a lot of stereotypes that involve the type of people who self-injure,” Williams stated. “In reality, anyone can self-injure. Currently, 4 percent of the population does so.”
Williams spoke about her history of self-injuring and how she got through it with the help of counselors, friend and her parents. Throughout her entire presentation, students sat silent, listening to every word the young woman said.
“Even when you’re recovering, thoughts of self-injury will be in the back of your mind, but you have to remember that there’s always hope,” said Williams. “You can get better and learn new ways to cope.”
Students who attended the presentation each received an orange bracelet as a way to bring awareness to the issue. Both Ginn and Williams hope that their stories can help others and that the program can become a yearly event at the high school.