Information, advice and support for young people

Self harm

Self-harm is injuring yourself on purpose so you bleed, leave a scar, mark or bruise. The most common ways are cutting, scratching, hair pulling and burning. Records show that more girls self-harm than boys.

People can self-harm for different reasons:
  • feeling bad as they're being bullied or abused
  • to show other people they're unhappy and have other problems
  • they have ongoing issues and feelings that they can’t express – a coping mechanism
People who self-harm often don’t ask for help as they feel ashamed, but there is support out there.

Symptoms of self-harm

These can include unexplained cuts, bruises or burns, often to arms or wrists. Another sign is when they try to keep their injuries hidden by wearing concealing clothes even when it's hot outside.

Dealing with self-harm

If you or someone you know is harming themselves, there are things you could do to help:
  • talk to someone you can trust, or a professional like your school nurse or GP.
  • think about the reasons why you might want to harm yourself and how you can solve these issues or get support.
  • if you are self-harming, try and use something clean if you're cutting yourself to prevent infection.
  • if a friend you know or family member is self-harming, then let them know that you are there to support them and listen to what they have to say