Self-harm refers to the different ways that people cause harm to themselves. When we say self-harm, we mean any unhelpful coping strategy that we use for dealing with life’s difficulties (like overworking, overeating, causing physical harm to ourselves and many more). 


Why do people self-harm?

When we feel low, stressed out or anxious about stuff most of the time we are able to find a way to manage how we’re feeling. If we haven’t found positive ways of coping we might use self-harm as a way of managing the feelings that are bottled up inside us. 
Some of the reasons for self-harm that young people describe include:

  • To cope with overwhelming and painful feelings of sadness, despair and hopelessness.
  • To relieve difficult feelings or to provide a distraction from them.
  • To feel and gain a sense of control when they may feel no control over other areas of their life.

Did you know?

In the UK at least one in every 15 young people has experience of self-injury. That is two young people in every classroom.


How do I stop self-harming?

First, you don’t have to cope on your own. When self-harming becomes a way of coping with stress its a sign that there are problems and worries in your life that need attention. You might need someone else to support you to think about what is upsetting you and how it can be resolved or managed.

You might like to stop self-harming but find it scary to think about, especially if you’re not sure how else you will cope with what is happening in your life. Stopping can be a gradual process, you don’t have to stop immediately.

It can be a big step to talk to someone else about it if you’ve always kept it secret in the past, but sharing your worries with someone you can trust can make everything feel more manageable in the the long-run.


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