self harm


Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body and is often used as a release or to express or cope with emotional distress. Self-harm may be linked to bad experiences that are happening either now or in the past but sometimes the reason can be unknown, or can change over time. Some reasons that young people self-harm can be due to bullying, pressure at school, family problems, past trauma and mental health difficulties.


self harm2
Recognise the signs & symptoms

Possible signs of self-harm

  1. Cutting or burning their skin.
  2. Punching or hitting themselves.
  3. Misusing alcohol or drugs.
  4. Deliberately starving themselves (anorexia nervosa) or binge eating (bulimia nervosa).
  5. Excessively exercising.
Help & advice

MindSpace top tips

  1. Identify your triggers and the feelings that cause you to self-harm. Keeping a diary can help you recognise these.
  2. Find alternative strategies e.g. taking a cold shower, squeezing an ice cube, drawing on your arms with red pen/paint, Eating a sour or spicy food.
  3. Use distraction techniques until urge to self-harm passes e.g. phoning a friend, going for a walk, watching your favourite film, doing some exercise, reading a book, taking a nap.
  4. Talk to someone you trust e.g. a parent, friend or teacher when you notice negative feelings coming.
  5. Create a positivity mind map/ poster/ list so you can remind yourself of all the good things when you feel down.

Useful resources & apps

Understanding and getting support for self-harm

Young Minds
Self Harm UK

Useful information for parents and carers

Mums Net
Parent tool kit

Useful apps

Self-help for anxiety