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.
Myths about self-harm:
- Self-harm is just attention seeking - This is FALSE, self-harm is usually kept secret and hidden.
- Only teenage girls self-harm - This is FALSE, it is becoming more common for older people and males to self-harm.
- If you self-harm you want to end your life - This is FALSE, many people who self-harm do not want to end their life. Self-harm is a way of coping with the emotional pain they are feeling.
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.
The Young Minds video above, titled ‘No Harm Done’, tells of young people, parents and professionals experiences about the difficulties of dealing with self-harm.
Spotting the signs of self-harm in a friend
- 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:
- LifeSIGNS website - Self-harm factsheet for friends.
- Young Minds website - 5 tips to help your friend, and read their 'Tell someone' leaflet if you or someone you know are self-harming.
- Childline website - Have useful information about coping techniques. Visit childline.org.uk/self-harm
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. The below services can help support you:
- Speak to a school nurse - From the ChatHealth Service. Send a text to 07507 333356. To find out more go to our ChatHealth page.
- Get online support from Kooth - A free, safe and confidential online emotional wellbeing and counselling for 11-25 year olds in Suffolk. Kooth helps you find someone to talk to when you need it. To find out more go to our Kooth information page or visit kooth.com
- Contact the Emotional Wellbeing Hub - If you live in East and West Suffolk, and are worried about your emotional health and wellbeing. You can call their helpline on 0345 600 2090 or make an online referral. To find out more, go to our Emotional Wellbeing Hub page
- Contact the Point-1 Service - Provides an online referral service and helpline (like the Hub) for young people who live in Lowestoft and Waveney area. Call their helpline on 0800 977 4077, or visit Point-1 Service website
- Speak to a youth worker at 4YP - drop in or call for advice and support, visit their website for more details www.4yp.org.uk
- Visit your GP - 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.
- Childline - Free 24/7 support. Call 0800 1111
- YoungMinds Crisis Text Messenger Service - Provides free, 24/7 crisis support. Send a text to 85258
- Alumina (Self Harm UK) - Provides a free, online 6 week course for young people struggling with self-harm (if you are 14 or older), a couple of nights per week by trained counsellors. For details visit www.selfharm.co.uk/alumina
You may like to look at some digital apps like Calm Harm on our 'If the App Fits' page. (Note - Apps may be able to support your recovery and your emotional well being (although they are no substitute for professional help).
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