Self-harm might be something that you don’t hear about often, but it is a problem that is very common. From time to time depressed feelings inside you can build up and give you a lot of stress and worries. Sometimes you bottle things up so much and things get so bad that the pressure builds up and it is usually at this point that people harm themselves. Many people hurt themselves secretly for a long time before finding the courage to tell people.
Problems that can trigger self-harm include worrying about schoolwork or exams, parents or carers divorcing, bullying or bereavement, but it could be anything that is worrying you that could set off the problem.
How do people self-harm?
There are many types of self-harm but the most common one is called ‘cutting’ where you scratch or cut your arms with knives, razor blades or scissors. Sometimes people say that cutting themselves lets out all their feelings and they feel better once they have done it. Other forms of self-harm include burning yourself, bruising yourself, taking an overdose or pulling your hair.
If you do self-harm, you may be thinking about stopping, but don’t know what else to do to stop. You may have lots of thoughts going round in your head – You might feel guilty, as you want to stop but can’t, you might feel alone, as you’ve no one to talk to or you might feel embarrassed because people might think you are odd. These are all natural feelings and something you will overcome with help.
What should I do?
Self-harm is a problem and something that must be dealt with. If you self-harm, try and find someone to confide in such as your parents or carers, a friend or a teacher. If you think someone you know is harming themselves try and get them to talk to you about it and encourage them to get medical help.
Who can help?
YoungMinds is a national charity committed to improving the mental health of all children and young people http://www.youngminds.org.uk/
TheSite.org has advice and support on self-harm recovery.
The National Self Harm Network offers help and advice for people who injure or self-harm as a way of coping, including downloadable information sheets and an online forum. Visit www.nshn.co.uk/.
Dr Ann’s virtual surgery is a great place to find out information about any health problems. www.doctorann.org/
Mind is a leading mental health charity in England and Wales www.mind.org.uk/
You can find out more about self harm and self harm awareness day by visiting Harmless, the support organisation for people who self harm, their friends, families and professionals, at www.harmless.org.uk./
If you have lost someone close to you and need advice visit the Child Bereavement website at www.childbereavement.org.uk