WHAT IS SELF HARM?
Self-harm is when someone hurts or inflicts injuries on him or herself and is usually a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress. This can take a number of forms including, cutting yourself, taking overdoses of tablets or medicines, punching oneself, head banging, pulling out hair or eye lashes, scratching, picking, tearing or biting at one’s skin causing sores or scarring, inhaling or sniffing harmful substances, swallowing objects, being sexually active with many partners, and many other ways.
WHY DO YOUNG PEOPLE HARM THEMSELVES?
Young people might self-harm because it’s a way of releasing tension or controlling something. It’s a physical pain that you can deal with, rather than an emotional feeling that you might find hard to cope with. Self-harm can also be used as a way of self-punishment for something you feel bad about. Self-harm is more common than many people realise, especially among younger people. It’s estimated around 10% of young people self-harm at some point, but people of all ages do.
WHY YOUNG PEOPLE DON’T TELL?
No-one to talk to who will understand, too scared in case others think they are mad or bad, worried about how other people might react, too ashamed, scared that others may make them stop.
Help for self harm
When you decide to get help, remember you are not alone, lots of other teenagers who self-harm have made the same decision and many have been helped to stop hurting themselves. One of the best ways to get help is finding someone to talk to and trust. This could be a parent, brother, sister, grandparent, friend, school health nurse, teacher, social worker, school counsellor, youth worker. Your doctor could refer you to a self-harm nurse, counsellor or psychologist if you say you need someone to talk to. Many schools have youth workers that come into the school, you may want to speak with them. There is also The Web project or Health drop in.
Calm Harm app – helps you manage the urge to self harm
Other sources of help:
Childline confidential phone line offering young people advice on all sorts of problems. Freephone 0800 1111 (24 hours)
Register to chat to the cool2talk counsellor HERE When she is available you can return and log in.