On This Day … 01 March

Events

  • Zero Discrimination Day.
  • Self-injury Awareness Day (international).

Zero Discrimination Day

Zero Discrimination Day is an annual day celebrated on 01 March each year by the United Nations (UN) and other international organisations. The day aims to promote equality before the law and in practice throughout all of the member countries of the UN. The day was first celebrated on 01 March 2014, and was launched by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé on 27 February of that year with a major event in Beijing.

In February 2017, UNAIDS called on people to “make some noise around zero discrimination, to speak up and prevent discrimination from standing in the way of achieving ambitions, goals and dreams.”

The day is particularly noted by organisations like UNAIDS that combat discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. “HIV related stigma and discrimination is pervasive and exists in almost every part of the world including our Liberia”, according to Dr. Ivan F. Camanor, Chairman of the National AIDS Commission of Liberia. The UN Development Programme also paid tribute in 2017 to LGBTI people with HIV/AIDS who face discrimination.

Campaigners in India have used this day to speak out against laws making discrimination against the LGBTI community more likely, especially during the previous campaign to repeal the law (Indian Penal Code, s377) that used to criminalise homosexuality in that country, before that law was overturned by the Indian Supreme Court in September 2018.

In 2015, Armenian Americans in California held a ‘die-in’ on Zero Discrimination Day to remember the victims of the Armenian genocide.

Self-Injury Awareness Day

Self-injury Awareness Day (SIAD) (also known as Self-Harm Awareness Day) is a grassroots annual global awareness event / campaign on 01 March, where on this day, and in the weeks leading up to it and after, some people choose to be more open about their own self-harm, and awareness organisations make special efforts to raise awareness about self-harm and self-injury. Some people wear an orange awareness ribbon, write “LOVE” on their arms, draw a butterfly on their wrists in awareness of “the Butterfly Project” wristband or beaded bracelet to encourage awareness of self-harm. The goal of the people who observe SIAD is to break down the common stereotypes surrounding self-harm and to educate medical professionals about the condition.

What is Self-Injury Awareness Day?

Introduction

The orange ribbon of self-harm awareness.

Self-injury Awareness Day (SIAD) (also known as Self-Harm Awareness Day) is a grassroots annual global awareness event/campaign on 01 March, where on this day, and in the weeks leading up to it and after, some people choose to be more open about their own self-harm, and awareness organisations make special efforts to raise awareness about self-harm and self-injury.

Some people wear an orange awareness ribbon, write “LOVE” on their arms, draw a butterfly on their wrists in awareness of “the Butterfly Project” wristband or beaded bracelet to encourage awareness of self-harm. The goal of the people who observe SIAD is to break down the common stereotypes surrounding self-harm and to educate medical professionals about the condition.

Background

Depression and self-harm often go hand-in-hand, though there are many other reasons people self-harm. As many as two million Americans currently engage in self-harm, with methods like cutting, burning, scratching, bruising, and hitting themselves, along with other more harmful methods. It’s said that these behaviours promote feelings of control and help relieve tension, while helping the person express their emotions and escape the numbness that accompanies depression.

SIAD was created to spread awareness and understanding of self-injury, which is often misrepresented and misunderstood in the mainstream. Those who self-harm are often left feeling alone and afraid to reach out for help because they fear they will be seen as “crazy”.

Participating Organisations

Organisations involved in SIAD include:

  • Sociedad Internacional de Autolesión.
  • LifeSIGNS (Self-Injury Guidance & Network Support).
  • Self-Injury Foundation.
  • YoungMinds.
  • ChildLine.
  • The Mix (a UK digital charity).
  • Adolescent Self-Injury Foundation.
  • Cars for hope.

On This Day … 01 March

Events

  • Self-injury Awareness Day.
  • Zero Discrimination Day.

Self-Injury Awareness Day

Self-injury Awareness Day (SIAD) (also known as Self-Harm Awareness Day) is a grassroots annual global awareness event/campaign on 01 March, where on this day, and in the weeks leading up to it and after, some people choose to be more open about their own self-harm, and awareness organisations make special efforts to raise awareness about self-harm and self-injury. Some people wear an orange awareness ribbon, write “LOVE” on their arms, draw a butterfly on their wrists in awareness of “the Butterfly Project” wristband or beaded bracelet to encourage awareness of self-harm. The goal of the people who observe SIAD is to break down the common stereotypes surrounding self-harm and to educate medical professionals about the condition.

Background

Depression and self-harm often go hand-in-hand, though there are many other reasons people self-harm. As many as two million Americans currently engage in self-harm, with methods like cutting, scratching, bruising, and hitting themselves, along with other more harmful methods. It’s said that these behaviours promote feelings of control and help relieve tension, while helping the person express their emotions and escape the numbness that accompanies depression.

SIAD was created to spread awareness and understanding of self-injury, which is often misrepresented and misunderstood in the mainstream. Those who self-harm are often left feeling alone and afraid to reach out for help because they fear they’ll be seen as “crazy.”

Participating Organisations

Many organizations are now getting involved in SIAD. Some of them include:

  • Sociedad Internacional de Autolesión.
  • LifeSIGNS (Self-Injury Guidance & Network Support).
  • Self-Injury Foundation.
  • YoungMinds.
  • ChildLine.
  • The Mix.
  • Adolescent Self-Injury Foundation.
  • Cars for Hope.

Zero Discrimination Day

Zero Discrimination Day is an annual day celebrated by the United Nations (UN) and other international organisations. The day aims to promote equality before the law and in practice throughout all of the member countries of the UN. The day was first celebrated on 01 March 2014, and was launched by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé on 27 February of that year with a major event in Beijing.

In February 2017, UNAIDS called on people to “make some noise around zero discrimination, to speak up and prevent discrimination from standing in the way of achieving ambitions, goals and dreams.”

The day is particularly noted by organisations like UNAIDS that combat discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. “HIV related stigma and discrimination is pervasive and exists in almost every part of the world including our Liberia”, according to Dr. Ivan F. Camanor, Chairman of the National AIDS Commission of Liberia. The UN Development Programme also paid tribute in 2017 to LGBTI people with HIV/AIDS who face discrimination.

Campaigners in India have used this day to speak out against laws making discrimination against the LGBTI community more likely, especially during the previous campaign to repeal the law (Indian Penal Code, s377) that used to criminalise homosexuality in that country, before that law was overturned by the Indian Supreme Court in September 2018.

In 2015, Armenian Americans in California held a ‘die-in’ on Zero Discrimination Day to remember the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Interoceptive Impairment & Non-Suicidal Self-Injury

Research Paper Title

A multi-measure examination of interoception in people with recent nonsuicidal self-injury.

Background

Self-injurious behaviors (SIB) are highly dangerous, yet prediction remains weak. Novel SIB correlates must be identified, such as impaired interoception. This study examined whether two forms of interoceptive processing (accuracy and sensibility) for multiple sensations (general, cardiac, and pain) differed between people with and without recent nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI).

Methods

Participants were adults with recent (n = 48) NSSI and with no history of SIBs (n = 55). Interoceptive sensibility was assessed with self-reports. Interoceptive accuracy for cardiac sensations was assessed using the heartbeat tracking task. Interoceptive accuracy for pain was assessed with a novel metric that mirrored the heartbeat tracking test.

Results

Participants with recent NSSI reported significantly lower interoceptive sensibility for general sensations relative to people without SIBs. Groups did not differ on interoceptive sensibility for cardiac sensations or pain. Groups also did not differ on interoceptive accuracy for cardiac sensations. The NSSI group exhibited significantly lower interoceptive accuracy for pain compared with the No SIB group.

Conclusions

Interoceptive impairment in people with NSSI may vary by interoceptive domain and sensation type. Diminished interoceptive accuracy for sensations relevant to the pathophysiology of self-injury may be a novel SIB correlate.

Reference

Forrest, L.N. & Smith, A.R. (2021) A multi-measure examination of interoception in people with recent nonsuicidal self-injury. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behaviour. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12732. Online ahead of print.

Young People & Impulsivity in the Short-Term Build up to Self-Harm

Research Paper Title

What young people say about impulsivity in the short-term build up to self-harm: A qualitative study using card-sort tasks.

Background

Youth who self-harm report high levels of trait impulsivity and identify impulsive behaviour as a proximal factor directly preceding a self-harm act. Yet, impulsivity is a multidimensional construct and distinct impulsivity-related facets relate differentially to self-harm outcomes.

Studies have yet to examine if and how a multidimensional account of impulsivity is meaningful to individual experiences and understandings of self-harm in youth.

The researchers explored the salience and context of multidimensional impulsivity within narratives of self-harm, and specifically in relation to the short-term build-up to a self-harm episode.

Methods

Fifteen community-based adolescents (aged 16-22 years) attending Further Education (FE) colleges in the UK took part in individual face-to-face sessions (involving exploratory card-sort tasks and semi-structured interviews) which explored factors relating to self-harm, impulsivity and the broader emotional, developmental and cognitive context. Session data were analysed thematically.

Results

Two overarching themes, and associated subthemes, were identified:

  1. ‘How I respond to strong negative emotions’; and
  2. ‘Impulse versus deliberation – How much I think through what I’m doing before I do it’.

Self-harm was typically a quick, impulsive act in the context of overwhelming emotion, underpinned by cognitive processing deficits. The dynamic tension between emotion-based impulsivity and controlled deliberation was articulated in the immediate moments before self-harm. However, impulsive responses were perceived as modifiable. Where self-harm patterns were established, these related to habitual behaviour and quick go-to responses. Young people identified with a multidimensional conception of impulsivity and described the impulsive context of a self-harm act as dynamic, contextual, and developmentally charged.

Conclusions

Findings have implications for youth-focused work. Card-task frameworks are recommended to scaffold and facilitate discussion with young people, particularly where topics are sensitive, complex and multifactorial.

Reference

Lockwood, J., Townsend, E., Allen, H., Daley, D. & Sayal, K. (2020) What young people say about impulsivity in the short-term build up to self-harm: A qualitative study using card-sort tasks. PLoS One. 15(12), pp.e0244319. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244319. eCollection 2020.