I AM SELF-HARMING WHAT CAN I DO?
Self-harm is when a person intentionally damages or injures their body. It's usually a way of coping with or expressing emotional distress or overwhelming situations.
WHY DO PEOPLE SELF-HARM?
People self-harm for a variety of reasons and it’s not always clearly down to one specific reason. But if you’re self-harming you don’t need to know the reason in order to seek help.
Common causes can include:
- Social problems – such as being bullied, having difficulties at work or school, having difficult relationships with friends or family, coming to terms with their sexuality, or coping with pressure and expectations from family, school or friends
- Trauma – such as physical or sexual abuse, or the death of a close family member or friend
- Psychological causes – such as having repeated thoughts or voices telling them to self-harm, disassociating (losing touch with who they are and with their surroundings), or borderline personality disorder
People have described self-harm as a way to express difficult thoughts or emotions, gain a sense of control, or communicate to others that you need help.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I AM SELF-HARMING?
There are a number of ways you can help yourself to reduce or stop self-harming, and finding ways to do so can help to give you a sense of control. Mental health charity Mind has lots of in-depth advice which we would urge you to read in full on their website. Things you can do to support yourself include:
- Working out your patterns of self-harm
- Learn to recognise the triggers and urges
- Distract yourself from the urge to self-harm
- Delay self-harm
- Find ways to build your self-esteem
- Reach out for support
You can find lots of areas of support on this page from Mind.
SOME ADVICE FROM A FAMILIAR FACE...
I KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS SELF-HARMING, WHAT CAN I DO?
Finding out that someone you care about is self-harming can leave you feeling worried, confused and a bit helpless. But many young people who self-harm get help by talking to someone. There are things you can do to help:
- Remember that it may have been really difficult for them to have told you about self-harming, so try not to judge them.
- Listen to how they feel—sometimes just being there for your friend may be what they need. Self-harming is often a way of internalising difficult feelings, so getting these out by talking about them can really help.
- Don’t dismiss it as attention-seeking. This can leave the person feeling alienated or isolated, so it’s important to be respectful when talking to them about it.
- Encourage them to get support with how they are feeling. Show them the support links below.
- Look after yourself and make sure that you get support as well. It can be distressing to learn that a friend has been harming themselves so make sure that you seek support if you need it too.
NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO?
If you're self-harming, you should see your GP for help. They can refer you to healthcare professionals at a local community mental health service for further assessment.
They can also teach you coping strategies to help prevent further episodes of self-harm.
You can read more about getting help here: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Self-injury/Pages/Treatment.aspx