Self injury focus of March 11 program



An upcoming program at UDM aims to increase awareness about self-injury – a problem that affects students across the nation, including those on the McNichols campus.

Self-injury is a serious issue that affects all age groups, according to Dr. Andrea Kwasky, an assistant professor at UDM.

“Seventeen percent of college students are struggling with self-injury,” Kwasky said. “Twenty percent are women, while 14 percent are men. Self-injury is when a person does deliberate and direct harm to their body without having suicidal intent.”

The issue will be addressed on Wednesday, March 11, in a panel discussion from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in room 114 of the Chemistry Building.

The McAuley School of Nursing, psychology department, Women’s and Gender Studies Program and athletic department are hosting this program and all are welcome to attend. Pizza and beverages will be provided during the discussion.

“People engage in (self-injury) because they are dealing with intense emotions that they are not able to tolerate on their own,” Kwasky said. “Another common reason people inflict self-harm is because they are punishing themselves when they feel guilty about not doing something the correct way.”

This is the third year for the UDM event, which usually draws about 120 attendees.

The panel members change each year to heighten interest.

Kwasky said the panel will focus on three goals this year:

n increasing student awareness about a serious health issue for college students;

n providing factual educational materials on the subject; and

n highlighting help available within the UDM community.

A variety of professionals will be attending the program, including representatives of the UDM Wellness Center, Personal Counseling; Psychology Clinic and College of Health Professions Support Center.

“These professionals will present the statistics, characteristics of a person who self-injurers, reasons why people self-injure and treatment options,” Kwasky said.

Among the guests will be a person who self-injures, who will talk about her experience.

Accompanying her will be her mother, who will share her perspective, too.

“From this event I hope students will take away an increased knowledge in self-injury, the extent of self-injury in the college age population and where to find resources,” Kwasky said.