Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 10/09/2020

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at The Refuge, A Healing Place to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at The Refuge, A Healing Place.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Self-Injury: Statistics, Causes, Signs, & Symptoms

the trauma story.
the eating disorder, addiction, and mental health story.
the recovery story.

Self-injury can often times be hidden in plain sight, making it difficult to identify. Understanding and recognizing the signs, symptoms, risks and more is the first step in the recovery journey.

Understanding Self-Injury

Learn about self-injury

The terms self-harm, self-mutilation, self-abuse, or self-injury (SI) refer to the act of purposely harming oneself. Often referred to as “cutting,” a common way people hurt themselves, cutting isn’t the only way a person can engage in self-injury. Self-harm is not usually a suicidal behavior; if this happens, it is usually by accident and not intentional. It can be particularly challenging for people to understand the purpose that self-injury serves. The typical age of onset for self-injury is in the late teens to early adulthood; however, this depends on the reasons for the self-injury. Self-injury may serve as a way to express emotions unable to be put into words, feel a sense of control in the person’s environment, as a means of self-soothing or decreasing anxiety, as a way of releasing pain and tension, as a means of relieving guilt, or helping the person to feel alive. Self-harm is a complex disorder and often a symptom of other types of mental health disorders.

Some of the most common types of self-harm include:

  • Cutting
  • Sticking objects into the skin
  • Banging head against the a hard surface
  • Scalding or burning oneself
  • Trichotillomania (pulling out hair)
  • Hitting oneself with a hard object such as a  hammer
  • Skin picking or pulling off scabs
  • Intentionally interfering with wound healing
  • Swallowing poison or other inappropriate objects
  • Breaking bones in the hands and feet


Self-injury statistics

As self-injury frequently occurs in private, rates of self-harm are difficult to determine. Estimates vary widely from 3% to 38% in adolescents and young adults. Studies conducted with university students demonstrated a 17% lifetime prevalence rate in this population, with 13% reporting that they had engaged in self-harm more than once. Studies of high school students indicated prevalence rates of self-harm in this population ranged from 13% to 24%.  Onset can occur in children as young as seven years old, but the age of onset is usually between the ages of 12 and 15 years. Self-injury may also begin during the college years, with surveys reporting that 30% to 40% of college students report engaging in self-harm after the age of 17.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for self-injury

Research indicates that there is no single cause of self-harm, however, there are some theories associated with self-harm. These may include:

Learning – This theory suggest that the first instance of self-injurious behavior is either positively or negatively reinforced. When self-injurious behavior increases calm feelings and leads to an improvement in mood, these rewards increase the likelihood of the person engaging in the behavior again (positive reinforcement). There may also be a decrease in distress or negative feelings associated with the self-harm. This may increase self-harm as something negative is taken away (negative reinforcement).

Coping strategy –Sometime self-injurious behavior may be the individual’s way of coping with stress and therefore engage in self-harm when faced with negative life events.

Emotional regulation – Reports indicate that self-injury takes one’s mind off of extreme tension and intolerable, overwhelming emotions. The pain of self-harm distracts the person or allows them to temporarily avoid negative thoughts and feelings.

Create sensation – Sometimes people have traumatic experiences which result in the inability to experience emotions. The pain produced by self-injurious behavior triggers the production of natural endorphins, leading to a strong sense of pleasure.

Control – Some people feel they have no ability to alter or change anything in their life and become highly distressed over the chaos and unpredictable nature of their environment. Self-harm provides a sense of being in control of one part of their life.

Emotional expression – Some individuals never learn to identify, label, or properly express emotions during childhood; they may have learned that emotional expression is not appropriate. As they get older, they may use self-harm as a way to express negative emotions.

Punishment – Individuals who have grown up in homes in which they’re told that they’re defective often feel shameful, incompetent, useless, and insignificant and see themselves filled with faults. Self-injurious behavior may develop as a means of punishment for perceived transgressions.

At the Refuge, our compassionate and experienced staff understands that while others may judge your behavior, we understand that you’re doing your best to survive in an ever-changing world, and we’re ready to help you learn the skills you need to lead a life free from self-injury.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of self-injury

Signs and symptoms of self-injury and self-harm will vary depending upon the person, the method of self-injury, presence of substance abuse, and development of other coping skills. Some of the most common symptoms of self-injury include:

  • Scarring from cuts and burns on parts of the body that can be hidden with clothing
  • Recurring new wounds such as scrapes, cuts or abrasions, lacerations, or bruises
  • Broken bones with inadequate explanations as to the cause
  • Keeping sharp objects nearby at all times
  • Injuries are always attributed to an accident
  • Chronic interpersonal challenges leading to social withdrawal and isolation
  • Impulse control difficulties
  • Feeling helpless, hopeless, or worthless
  • Internalized hostility
  • Obsessing about the self-harm behavior
  • Frequent thoughts about engaging in self-harm
  • Following self-injury the individual may experiences severe distress, guilt, and shame


Effects of self-injury

Left untreated, self-harm can lead to many consequences, both minor and life-threatening, which is why self-injury should be treated as soon as possible. Some of the major effects of self-injury may include the following:

  • Broken bones that don’t heal correctly
  • Permanent scarring
  • Severe bleeding and anemia
  • Permanent tissue damage
  • Chronic pain
  • Infected wounds
  • Avoidance of social interactions
  • Delusional thoughts
  • Negative mood states
  • Substance addiction
  • Death from a self-injury gone wrong

Co-Occurring Disorders

Self-injury and co-occurring disorders

There are a number of mental health disorders co-occur with self-injurious behaviors. The most frequently co-occurring, co-morbid mental health disorders may include:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Depersonalization disorder
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance use disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Trauma

Call for Free Insurance Verification
  • Aetna
  • Beacon Health Options
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Cigna
  • Multiplan
  • Optum
  • and more...
Take a Free Online Assessment
An assessment is an important first step toward treatment of and recovery from addiction.