Different types of mental health problems - Self harm
What is self harm?
Self-harm or self-injury is a way some people use for dealing with difficult or painful feelings that they find difficult to talk about. It is a lot more common than people realise – partly because it is often so hidden and is not something people will talk about.
It has been estimated that up to one in ten young people will harm themselves at some point, and it is thought to be more common amongst teenage girls.
It can take many different forms and these include:
- cutting or burning
- deliberate bruising including by a person throwing their body against something
- pulling hair or eyelashes or picking at skin
- taking an overdose
Some people self-injure or harm themselves on a regular basis whilst others may do it only occasionally, perhaps in response to a stressful or difficult event.
There are different reasons for why some young people may self-harm. Some people use self-harm or injury to cope with a specific problem and once this has been resolved, stop harming themselves. For other people, self-harm or injury is the way that they deal with pressure or stress of all kinds.
Feeling in control is often identified as a major factor in why a person may self-harm or injure themselves – and so understanding the stresses and pressures a person is facing, and thinking of ways to reduce these, can be very important in helping someone who is, or feels that they want, to injure themselves.
Knowing where to go for help – thinking who is the person they can trust and can talk to (who might be someone in school) is also key. If you want self harm support, find out who you could contact for help.
If you are worried about a friend or sibling who self harms, find out more about how you can support them.
For more info:
National Self-harm Network provides short factsheets about self-harm including tips on what to do or say and what not to do or say if you are supporting someone who self-harms. The site also has advice on the use of distractions if a person is trying not to self-harm.
The Site have lots of resources about self-harm including information around recovery and the support available and advice on what happens if a person goes to Accident & Emergency (A&E).
Youth2Youth have a website and helpline run by young people offering advice and information on all aspects of emotional well-being and support for young people.
Papyrus provide information, support and a campaigning voice to prevent young suicide with dedicated sections on resources for young people and their friends.
Find out about other types of mental health problems young people and teenagers can experience.
Find out where you can get support
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays