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Mental Health

Self-harm

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

Useful organisations

There are organisations that offer support and advice for people who self-harm, as well as their friends and families. These include:

Find more mental health helplines on NHS Choices.