Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body. It's usually a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress.
For example, you may
- take too many tablets - an overdose
- cut yourself
- burn yourself
- bang your head or throw yourself against something hard
- punch yourself
- stick things in your body
- swallow things.
- starve yourself
- exercise excessively
This is not an exhaustive list and you may self-harm in different ways.
People who self-harm often find it difficult to talk about the way they cope, their feelings and difficulties, and it can be helpful to talk things through.
If you're self-harming, you should see your doctor for help. They can refer you to healthcare professionals at a local community mental health service.
Treatment for people who self-harm usually involves seeing a therapist to discuss your thoughts and feelings, and how these affect your behaviour and wellbeing. They can also teach you coping strategies to help prevent further episodes of self-harm. If you're badly depressed, it could also involve taking antidepressants or other medication.
More information about self-harming
There are organisations that offer support and advice for people who self-harm, as well as their friends and families. These include:
- Samaritans - phone 116 123 (open 24 hours a day),
- Mind - phone 0300 123 3393 (9am to 6pm on weekdays)
- National Self Harm Network forums
- YoungMinds Parents Helpline - phone 0808 802 5544 (9.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday)
Find more mental health helplines on NHS Choices.