Trigger Warning – some of the content below may trigger some unpleasant emotions.
On this page:
- What is self harm?
- Why do people self harm? and myths of self harm.
- Signs of self harm
- Fight the urge – practical tips
- Where can I get support
What is self-harm?
Self-harm is when someone deliberately injures their body.
Self-harm is a way of coping with the emotional pain or distress, however it is only a temporary relief and it won’t stop the negative emotions from coming back.
Watch the Young Minds video, called ‘No Harm Done’, which tells of young people, parents and professionals experiences about the difficulties of dealing with self-harm.
Why do people self-harm?
People can self-harm for many different reasons, including:
- Difficulties at school
- Problems at home
- Being a victim of abuse
- Low self-esteem
- Or other emotional difficulties
Myths about self-harm: Self-harm is just attention seeking - FALSE, self-harm is cry for help. Those who self-harm usually keep it secret and hidden. Only teenage girls self-harm - FALSE, it is becoming common for older people and boys to self-harm. If you self-harm you want to end your life - FALSE, many people who self-harm do so as a coping mechanism and do not want to end their life.
Signs of self-harm:
- Unexplained cuts or burns
- Keeping covered even in hot weather
- Changes in eating habits and weight
- Blaming themselves for problems
- Thinking they are not good enough
- Alcohol or drug abuse
If you think your friend might be self-harming, there are ways you can support them.
The following resources may help:
Fight the the urge to self-harm
Try doing these things:
- Hit a cushion
- Hold ice cubes
- Flick an elastic band on your wrists
- Have a very cold shower
- Clench and unclench your muscles
Where can I get support?
If you’re using self-harm as a way to deal with your feelings, it’s important that you talk to someone and seek help. The below confidential services can support you:
- NHS Mental Health Crisis Support Line, call 111 and press option 2.
- Emotional Wellbeing Hub for support if you live in East and West Suffolk. Or go to Just One Norfolk for support if you live in Lowestoft or Waveney.
- Kooth – Confidential online chat service.
- Visit your GP
- ChildLine – 24/7 support. Call 0800 1111
- YoungMinds Crisis Text Messenger Service – Text YM on 85258.
- Alumina (Self Harm UK) – Free, online 6 week course for young people struggling with self-harm.
- Look at apps like Calm Harm on our ‘Useful Apps‘ page.
Page updated on March 24th, 2023 at 06:28pm