Talking about self-harm isn't easy. Whether you hurt yourself (maybe through cutting, burning or scratching your skin) or you know someone who self-harms, it's often really difficult to discuss.
For many people, self-harm is used as a way of coping with emotional pain. You may feel like you want to punish yourself, regain control or release tension. It doesn't necessarily mean you feel suicidal and it's not a cry for attention - many people do everything they can to hide the fact that they self-harm.
Self-harm can be scary, both for the person doing it and their loved ones. It can be very dangerous but help and support is available.
How it can feel
People can harm themselves in different ways. You may self-harm by:
- Burning yourself;
- Cutting yourself;
- Exercising excessively;
- Hitting yourself or solid objects e.g. walls, tables;
- Pulling your hair;
- Over-eating or under-eating;
- Inserting objects into your body;
- Picking or scratching at your skin;
When to seek help
If you feel like you want to hurt yourself in some way or you've already self-harmed, it's important that you seek help. The good news is that specialist support is available to help you through difficult times and find new ways of coping with life's stresses.
What support is available
You may need some support to deal with the emotions that make you want to harm yourself.
It's important that you get the right treatment for any physical injuries from self-harm. You may wish to visit your GP or a local walk in centre. If your injuries are serious, go straight to your nearest Accident & Emergency Department.