top of page


Self-harm refers to when someone hurts themselves on purpose, usually as a way of dealing with emotional pain, anger or frustration.

There are many misconceptions about this topic, such as those who self-harm are only seeking attention or are suicidal. While these are sometimes the case, it is more common for self-harm to be an attempt at coping or expressing their emotional distress. Self-harm should be taken seriously, whatever the reason behind it.​

It is possible to live without self-harm. It is important to know that you won’t always feel the way you do now.

This behaviour is most common in young people with 10% of 15-16 year olds attempting self-harm, according to the charity Young Minds. However, self-harm brings only temporary relief and is not a healthy emotional coping mechanism.

If you are self-harming, you should tell someone. It isn’t easy and you may find it difficult to talk about it, but talking with someone you trust is an important step towards recovery and feeling better.

It is important to tell someone you trust and feel comfortable with, as they can help and support you. You could talk to:

  • Friends

  • Family

  • A member of staff at school, such as a teacher or school nurse

  • Your doctor or a healthcare professional such as a counsellor or nurse

  • A youth worker

  • Charities and helplines​​

There are many coping methods you can try to avoid self-harm, such as:
  • Writing about the thoughts and feels that are distressing you. Then get rid of the paper somehow to let go of the thoughts.

  • Hit or throw something soft, like a pillow.

  • Try breathing exercises or meditation.

  • Go for a walk to distance yourself from whatever is triggering you.

  • Talk to someone you trust, such as a friend or family member. You don’t have to talk about self-harm, instead letting the conversation distract you.

  • Do something creative, like creating art that expresses your feelings, or try learning a new craft to make something you’ll be proud of.

  • Listen to music you like or watch your favourite films.

  • There is also the Five Minutes Rule. If you feel like you want to self-harm, wait five minutes before you do it, then try waiting another five minutes, and so on until eventually the feeling fades.

bottom of page