Self-harming can affect people’s lives but can be defeated. Here is a help guide.
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:
- Punching things
- Breaking bones intentionally
- Starving themselves
- Hair pulling
- Poisoning themselves
- Biting themselves
- Alcohol or drug misuse
- Excessive exercise
- 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- Becoming withdrawn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
- 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
Click on the icons below for further information on useful apps that are available:
BlueIce is an evidenced-based app to help young people manage their emotions and reduce urges to self-harm. It includes a mood diary, a toolbox of evidence-based techniques to reduce distress and automatic routing to emergency numbers if urges to harm continue.
The distrACT app gives you easy, quick and discreet access to information and advice about self-harm and suicidal thoughts. The content has been created by doctors and experts in self-harming and suicide prevention.