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There are many different ways in which young people self-harm, but the thing that they all have in common is it is used as a way of managing difficult or distressing feelings or experiences. It’s not just young people who self-harm. Self-harm can be a way of coping for lots of different people in society – young or old. If you are struggling with difficult thoughts, feelings or experiences and using self-harm as a way of dealing with them, there is a strong possibility that you are not the only one in your class or circle of friends.
Self-harm is way of coping with difficult and distressing feelings. It can include anything that you do that causes you an injury or harms you in some way. Sometimes it might be called self-injury.
Common things we might consider being self-harm include:
Other examples might include:
Some of the risky or dangerous things young people might do include:
Some people describe self-harm as
There are many different reasons why young people self-harm and these are just some of things that young people tell us about why they harm or hurt themselves.
Self-harm is not about ending your life or committing suicide, however sometimes people feel unsure whether they want to die or not. Sometimes people do harm themselves in ways that are very dangerous, and it can be possible to accidentally kill yourself. For this reason it is really important to know when to ask for help or get immediate medical treatment.
Cutting can be very dangerous, especially if you cut deep and cut on certain parts of the body. If you cannot stop a cut bleeding or it is deep then you may need stitches or other treatment. You should see a medical professional if this is the case. You can go to your local A&E department, or depending on how severe the cut or bleeding is you could go to an NHS Walk-in Centre.
Overdosing is always dangerous and just because someone might have taken the same tablets before and been ok, it does not mean that everything will be ok this time.
There can be unseen damage going on inside your body when you overdose, so it always important to tell someone when you have overdosed – even if you feel ok!
You can go to your local A&E department and they will be able to talk to you about what you have taken and give you any treatment you need to avoid long term damage, and they can also give you information about where to go to speak to someone about your self-harm and why you might be self-harming.
If you think that you would like to talk to someone about your self-harm and what else might be going on in your life that you are finding difficult, there are lots of different people who can help.
If you are struggling with self-harm, for further support: