This "Stranger Things" Actress Opened up About Self-Harm

November 8th 2016

Laura Donovan

Shannon Purser, who portrays Barb in "Stranger Things," recently got the attention of her fans on Twitter by sharing her experiences with self-injury.

The actress tweeted a photo of a blade on Monday, explaining that she used to keep it in case she felt the urge to engage in self-harm. Self-harm is defined by the National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) as hurting oneself on purpose, oftentimes, to deal with emotional distress:

Purser's revelation enabled her followers to share their own battles with self-harm and thank her for opening up on this particular issue:

Self-harm is a common problem for many.

A 2008 study published in Psychiatry (Edgemont) found that self-harm is more common in adolescents and young adults than previously believed, and that many doctors have encountered adolescents who have engaged in self-harm without the intention of committing suicide. The study states research shows that up to half of adolescents in the U.S. have engaged in self-harm.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness states on its site that self-harm is not a mental illness, but self-harm does suggest "a lack of coping skills." People who engage in self-harm are not necessarily trying to commit suicide, however, this behavior is a "symptom of emotional pain that should be taken seriously," according to NAMI.

"If someone is hurting herself, she may be at an increased risk of feeling suicidal," NAMI continues. "It’s important to find treatment for the underlying emotions."

If you or someone you know is suffering from self-harm, you can call the Crisis Text Line at 1-800-366-8288 to get help from trained crisis counselors.