What is self-harm?
Self-harm is when someone deliberately hurts themselves or damages their health, but it doesn’t mean that they want to take their own life. If you ever feel like hurting yourself, please remember that you are not alone and there are people who you can talk to.
Why do people self-harm?
Self-harm can be really hard to understand but it is a lot more common than some people think. Between 1 in 12 and 1 in 15 people self-harm.
People can self-harm for a variety of different reasons. They may be dealing with emotions which they find difficult to cope with and resort to self-harm to deal with the physical pain, rather than the emotional pain. They may also self-harm as a way of release from feeling angry, or as a way of control if they feel that they are out of control of a situation or trapped.
If you are self-harming, you may be:
- cutting or burning yourself
- biting your nails excessively
- developing an eating disorder
- taking an overdose of tablets
- taking drugs or excessive amounts of alcohol
- It is usually a sign that something is wrong.
Lots of things may make you feel that you can’t cope, like you are going to explode. You may be anxious, stressed by school, family or friends, being bullied or feeling lonely.
Some people use self-harm as a way to cope when they feel like this, but self-harming can be dangerous. It is a sign that you have an underlying problem, but if it gets out of hand you could risk seriously hurting yourself, maybe accidentally.
The best thing to do is to get help to deal with the underlying issues. Self-harming will not solve the underlying problems but getting the right help is often the key to overcoming or managing self-harm.
Where to get help
If you are worried about your, or a friend’s, self-harming it’s helpful to talk about it with someone you trust.
At the YES project you can get free and confidential professional counselling – for anyone aged 14 – 25.
The Young Minds website has helpful information for more understanding about self-harm.