Tattooing may also be sign of pent-up emotions

It appears that any discussion on the phenomenon of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) or self-cutting behaviour invariably focuses on young people, and with good reason (The dynamics behind the sad phenomenon of self-cutting; July 18).

However, it is not only young people who are at risk of self-cutting.

A study of NSSI here may reveal if adults and the elderly are equally at risk of self-harming behaviour.

Self-cutting is not the only way people release their pent-up emotions and find relief for their mental torture.

Many people would choose less conspicuous or extreme methods. These commonly manifest as eating disorders, drug or alcohol abuse, or even tattooing.

There have been reports of tattooing becoming ever more popular with young people here.

Going to a shop to get a tattoo may become as addictive as taking drugs; there have been reports of people wanting to get multiple tattoos so they can get a high from the pain inflicted by the tattooing needle.

When viewed from a certain angle, tattooing is a form of self-injury.

It cannot be stressed enough that people should be aware of what a permanent tattoo might entail in the long run.

We still live in a society where employers think twice about employing a person with visible tattoos, regardless of his actual capabilities or qualifications.

Getting a tattoo is far easier than trying to remove it afterwards.

Tattoo shops should refuse customers who are too young to make an informed decision, such as teenagers who go there out of peer pressure and without their parents' knowledge.

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2017, with the headline Tattooing may also be sign of pent-up emotions. Subscribe