What is self-harm?

Hurting yourself is a form of self-harm. It is a deliberate action to relieve symptoms of distress.

Facing extreme emotional discomfort and trauma can trigger self-harm, and doing so may give the effect of relieving intense, intrusive thoughts.

Why do I self-harm?

Emotional trauma may have been the trigger to starting self-harm but it may be any other reason, such as those listed below:

  • suffering abuse
  • experiencing a traumatic incident
  • family problems like a divorce
  • bullying
  • a sudden change in your life, like a death, divorce or moving school
  • exam stress or extreme pressure or criticism from family, friends or teachers
  • low self-esteem or issues with body image
  • loneliness
  • feelings of guilt, failure, or being unloved

How can I stop self-harming?

Reach out, and talk to someone

Talking is the first and most important step. It can be a scary step to take, but there are many options and support readily available for you. Speak to a friend, family member, teacher, school counsellor, youth worker or nurse.

Identify someone you feel that you can trust and comfortable with sharing this information to. Many people are trained to deal with such topics and will be able to support you. Don’t be shy or worried they won’t understand you. They will be there to listen, not judge – only to support and guide you.

Find a mental health service

Get professional support

Getting professional help can seem like a scary idea, but it can make a big difference in how you feel and can offer the greatest support, through talking therapy, CBT, DBT, medication, copying skills and other techniques/help to get you through these deep and upsetting thoughts.

Find out more about the tips we recommend when speaking with a professional below.

Speaking with a professional