headshot of prof Stephen Lewis in front of a yellow brick wall
Prof. Stephen Lewis

The University of Guelph has an expert who can discuss Facebook and Instagram’s recent decision to ban or censor images of self-harm.

Prof. Stephen P. Lewis is a professor of psychology and is an expert on the mental health concern known as non-suicidal self-injury, or NSSI. Lewis runs the SiM-Health Labwhich brings together a research team to conduct applied research on NSSI and related mental health issues.

He was recently featured on CBC Radio’s Spark with Nora Young.

He was also featured in a Motherboard report about Facebook and Instagram’s decision to ban images of self-injury and to censor images of healed or fading self-injury scars. The social media sites said the aims of the policies are to avoid influencing young people who may want to imitate self-injury.

Lewis told the online publication that he is concerned that the new policies may further stigmatize a mental health behaviour that is already heavily marginalized.

He worries that banning self-injury scar imagery and related hashtags might deprive those who have overcome self-injury of a key platform for sharing their stories of recovery.

Lewis and Dr. Nancy Heath from McGill University launched the Self-injury Outreach& Support (SiOS) in 2012. The non-profit outreach organization provides current information and resources about self-injury to those who self-harm, their families and friends, and to teachers and health professionals.

Lewis is available to speak to media about the latest research about self-harm, NSSI recovery experiences, as well as how the Internet can be used as both an outreach tool and a research platform.

Prof. Stephen P. Lewis
519-824-4120 Ext. 53299