PaReflectionEd has a reflective article on trying to understand self-harm. While in many cases self-harm is not intended to be fatal, it does need to be taken seriously. For some, the function of self-harm is a way to alleviate intense emotional pain or distress, or overwhelming negative feelings, thoughts, or memories. For others, it’s a form of self-punishment, to end experiences of dissociation or numbness, or as a way to show others how bad they feel. While it may seem counter-intuitive, self-harm is used as a coping mechanism rather than a suicide attempt.
The reflective article can be accessed here.