Today is #SelfInjuryAwarenessDay and we’ve put together some advice for any young person who may be self-harming, or anyone worried about someone who is self-harming. 

I am concerned about someone self-harming – what can I do?

In some situations there are clear signs that a young person is self-harming, other times it can be harder to tell. If you think someone you care for is harming themselves, we encourage you to reach out to them. It’s not always an easy conversation to have – but we recommend:

  • Asking sensitively and directly if they have been harming themselves.
  • Managing your reactions and remaining calm
  • Exploring the reasons behind their self-harm
  • Listening to their explanation
  • Trying to understand what’s happening from their point of view
  • Avoiding taking control of the situation
  • Encouraging them to seek support

I am someone who uses self-harm – what can I do?

The more you understand your own self-harm, the more you can feel in control and hopefully less distressed. Understanding why you self-harm may help you talk about it with others too. There are steps you can take to ensure that you are safe and supported. Taking control of your self-harm can be really challenging – but we suggest:

  • Considering what self-harm does for you and the role of it in your life
  • Looking for patterns in your self-harm and keeping a diary
  • Exploring possible alternative coping mechanisms and distraction techniques
  • Caring for your injuries by accessing medical attention when needed and keeping a first-aid kit
  • Reaching out to someone you trust and talking things through
  • Getting some professional support in place by talking to your GP, a helpline or a young person’s counselling service
  • Remembering that things can change for you – there is HOPE

Self-harm is a struggle often shared with our Suicide Prevention Advisors at HOPELINE247. Self-harm may, or may not, be a sign that someone is feeling suicidal – it is very important to ask and not make assumptions. If you are a young person having thoughts of suicide – or you are concerned for a young person who may be suicidal – you can call HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 41 41 for practical advice and support.

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