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What is Self-Harm?

Self-harm is when you hurt yourself as a way of dealing with exceedingly difficult feelings, painful memories or overwhelming situations & experiences. After self-harming you may feel a short-term sense of release, but the trigger or source of your distress is unlikely to have disappeared. Self-harm can also bring up exceedingly difficult emotions & could make you feel worse. Cutting is NOT a suicide attempt, but people who self-injure are more likely to attempt suicide. But even when suicide is not the objective, cutting can still cause serious injuries, have a high risk of infection & lack of function to the area that has been cut.


Why do People Self-Harm?

Some people have described self-harm as a way to:

· Express something that is hard to put into words.

· Turn hidden thoughts or feelings into something visible.

· Alter emotional pain into physical pain.

· Reduce overwhelming emotional feelings or thoughts.

· Have a feeling of being in control.

· Escape traumatic memories.

· Have something in life that they can rely on.

· Punish themselves for their feelings & experiences.

· Stop feeling numb, disconnected, or dissociated.

· Create a reason to physically care for themselves.

· Express suicidal feelings & thoughts without taking their own life.

Signs & Symptoms

· Unexplained cuts, bruises, or cigarette burns – usually on the wrists, arms, thighs & chest

· Keeping themselves fully covered at all times, even in hot weather.

· Pulling out their hair.

· Alcohol or drugs misuse.

· Self-loathing & expressing a wish to punish themselves.

· Speaking about not wanting to go on & wishing to end it all.

· Becoming very withdrawn & not speaking to others.

· Changes in eating habits or being secretive about eating.

· Unusual weight loss or weight gain.

· Low self-esteem, such as self-blame for any problems or thinking they’re not good enough for something.


Talking Therapies

Support Groups

Medication (for the anxiety & or depression associated with self-harm).