Self-harming can affect people’s lives but can be defeated. Here is a help guide.

Source: NHS website and Mind

What is it?
  • Intentionally inflicting pain onto one’s self to deal with difficult feelings, memories and hard situations or experiences
  • Can be done in many different ways
Who does it affect?
  • It can affect anyone from any age or gender
  • More cases of self-harm are by females but males also self-harm and are equally likely to hurt themselves, but less cases are reported
  • People with mental health problems are more likely to self-harm
Why do people self harm?
  • Sometimes when people self-harm, they feel on some level that they intend to die
  • Other times it’s to inflict physical pain to help them feel something when they are unable to express their feelings
  • As a way of dealing with factors affecting their lives now or painful experiences in the past
  • To punish themselves
  • To relieve tension that isn’t bearable anymore
  • As a cry for help
Ways people may self harm:
  • Cutting
  • Burning
  • Punching things
  • Breaking bones intentionally
  • Starving themselves
  • Overdosing
  • Over-eating
  • Hair pulling
  • Poisoning themselves
  • Biting themselves
  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Excessive exercise
Warning signs
  • Wearing long sleeves in all weathers and not wanting to take them off
  • Being fully covered in hot weather
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts or burns on their bodies – most commonly on wrists, legs and chest
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Talk of wanting to hurt themselves or not wanting to carry on
  • Low self esteem
  • Signs of alcohol or drug misuse
  • Self-loathing
  • Signs of depression
Different coping strategies
  • Write a journal when you feel like hurting yourself
  • Ping an elastic band on your wrist
  • Draw with a red marker where you would normally cut
  • Speak to someone you trust
  • Go out to do something you enjoy

Where to get help

  • Go to your GP
  • Call Samaritans on 116 123 for 24 hour support
  • Call Mind on 0300 123 3393 for support and information (9am-6pm weekdays)
  • Call 999 for an ambulance
  • Go to nearest A&E or Minor Injuries Unit
  • Local counselling services