(Trigger Warning - some of the content below may trigger some unpleasant emotions.)
What is self-harm?
Self-harm is when someone deliberately injures their body. This could be cutting or burning the skin, punching or hitting, poisoning with tablets or dangerous substances, drug and alcohol misuse, starving and/or over eating.
Why do people self-harm?
People can self-harm for many different reasons, including: bullying, difficulties at school, problems at home, being a victim of abuse, low self-esteem or other emotional difficulties.
Self-harm is a way of coping with emotional distress, however it is only a temporary relief and it won't stop the negative emotions from coming back.
If you think your friend might be self-harming, there are ways you can support them. Read this self-harm factsheet for friends or these 5 tips from Young Minds.
Help and 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.
You could speak to a school nurse for support and advice - they offer weekly confidential 'drop-ins' in secondary schools. Send a text to ChatHealth (07507 333356) or ask in school to find out more. You could speak to a youth worker - 4YP offers confidential, non-judgemental online chat Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays (www.thesource.me.uk/expert)
The children and young people's Emotional Wellbeing Hub provides an online referral for support and a telephone helpline (0345 600 2090) if you are worried about you or a friend's emotional wellbeing and need advice.
Alumina (Self Harm UK), provides online support (if you are 14 or older) a couple of nights per week by trained counsellors - visit www.selfharm.co.uk/alumina and register
There are some useful coping strategies and distraction techniques on the Life Signs website which offers support for anyone affected by self-harm: www.lifesigns.org.uk/help
Young Minds also have a guide with help and advice for help young people who are self-harming - read 'No Harm Done, Things Can Change'
You may also like to look at some digital apps like Calm Harm on our 'If the App Fits' page. Apps may be able to support your recovery and your emotional well being (although they are no substitute for professional help).
Think you might need some help from a professional?
You can go to your GP for help at any age. Anything you talk about is confidential and will be kept between you and your doctor.
If you're 16 or over, you can also refer yourself for free support from the Wellbeing Service. This could be in the form of short term counselling or a telephone call from a professional, or wellbeing workshops or classes. For more information, visit the Wellbeing Service website.