Self-harm is when someone intentionally causes injury or damage to their own body. There are many different reasons why someone may self-harm, such as a way of expressing or coping with emotional distress, a means for punishing themselves, trying to feel in control or to relieve unbearable tension.
There are many possible causes of emotional distress, which can build up over time and may not necessarily be the same for everyone, including:
- Past or present trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse
- Being bullied or pressured at school / work
- Struggling with stress, anxiety or depression
- Family arguments or relationship problems
- Grief from loss or bereavement
- Confusion about sexuality
- Low self-esteem
- Money worries
There is evidence that people who self-harm, may also experience suicidal thoughts, although this isn’t necessarily the case for everyone. Some people describe their self-harming as a way of staying alive by responding to or coping with severe emotional distress.
If you’re harming yourself or having thoughts about doing so, you can speak directly with your GP. It’s important to get support or treatment as soon as possible, as this can help address the underlying cause and prevent suicidal thoughts from developing.
If you’d prefer not to talk with someone you know, such as your GP, family or friends, there’s a number of local and national organisations, which can offer information, advice and support.
Herefordshire Samaritans offer a telephone and drop in service, if you’re struggling and need help.
➡ 116 123 / 0330 094 5717 (local call charges apply)
Marches Counselling Service offer affordable, professional counselling and psychotherapy services, both in person and remotely, for adults aged 18 and over, who want to talk about their self-harming and find alternatives.
➡ 01432 279906 ● email@example.com
Strong Young Minds support young people aged 10 to 24 years old to address any issues which affect their mental health and wellbeing, including low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and cyberbullying.
➡ 01432 269245 ● firstname.lastname@example.org
The CLD Trust provide counselling for young people aged 10 to 20 years old. They can help with whatever is worrying you, whether it’s self-harm, depression, anxiety, anger, family or relationship problems, eating difficulties, substance misuse or bullying.
➡ 01432 269245 ● email@example.com
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) help men who are thinking about suicide and provide a telephone helpline and webchat service, 365 days a year from 5pm to 12am.
➡ 0800 58 58 58
Childline support those under the age of 19, with any issue they may be going through, including self-harm, and offer a range of coping techniques and tips for boosting confidence and self-esteem.
➡ 0800 11 11
Harmless provide a range of services related to self-harm and suicide prevention, including support, information, training and consultancy for those who self-harm or are at risk of suicide, along with their family and friends.
Mind offer a range of information, advice and support services to help those experiencing mental health problems.
➡ 0300 123 3393 ● firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Self Harm Network is an online support forum, which helps individuals who are self-harming to reduce emotional distress and improve their quality of life.
The NHS provide information and advice on self-harming, including tips to try and avoid it, how to tell someone you self-harm and assessment and treatments.
Samaritans is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year if you’re struggling and need help.
➡ 116 123 ● email@example.com
Self Injury Support offer support services for girls and women affected by self-harming, trauma and abuse.
Side by Side is an online support community run by Mind, which offers a safe place for you to listen, share and be heard.
Staying Safe offer detailed information and advice for making a safety plan, for those having suicidal thoughts.
Young Minds support young people who are experiencing a mental health crisis and also offer a parents’ helpline.
➡ 0808 802 5544 ● Text YM to 85258