Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body. It's usually a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress.

Self-harm can also be putting oneself in dangerous situations or causing self-neglect (not eating or washing properly)

Self-harm does not just mean ‘cutting’; there are many ways people can self-harm. Some of these include:

  • Cutting or burning their skin
  • Punching or hitting themselves
  • Poisoning themselves with tablets or toxic chemicals
  • Misusing alcohol or drugs
  • Deliberately starving themselves (anorexia nervosa) or binge eating (bulimia nervosa)
  • Excessively exercising

Self-harm is especially common among young people, and this can be for a number of reasons:

  • Social problems – such as being bullied, having difficulties at school, having difficult relationships with friends or family, coming to terms with their sexuality if they think they might be gay or bisexual, or coping with cultural expectations, such as an arranged marriage
  • Trauma – such as physical or sexual abuse, the death of a close family member or friend, or having a miscarriage
  • Psychological causes – such as having repeated thoughts or voices telling them to self-harm, disassociating (losing touch with who they are and with their surroundings), or borderline personality disorder

The Signs

If you are worried that someone you know is self-harming, here are some signs that will let you know to seek help:

  • Unexplained cuts, bruises or cigarette burns, usually on their wrists, arms, thighs and chest
  • Keeping themselves fully covered at all times, even in hot weather
  • Signs of depression, such as low mood, tearfulness or a lack of motivation or interest in anything
  • Self-loathing and expressing a wish to punish themselves
  • Not wanting to go on and wishing to end it all
  • Becoming very withdrawn and not speaking to others
  • Changes in eating habits or being secretive about eating, and any unusual weight loss or weight gain
  • Signs of low self-esteem, such as blaming themselves for any problems or thinking they're not good enough for something
  • Signs they have been pulling out their hair
  • Signs of alcohol or drugs misuse

Who Can Help?

If you are worried that a friend is self-harming, or you yourself have/are thinking about self-harm it is important that you talk to an adult

  • You should make an emergency appointment at the GP
  • Speak to the school counsellor

Useful Links and Places to Go

Check out ‘Like Kristen's’ Youtube channel for support on coping with mental health issues.

Contact Us

Bengarth Road, Northolt, Middlesex, UB5 5LQ

020 8841 4511

Contact Us