Self harming is hurting your self on purpose. It could include cutting yourself, burning yourself, pulling your hair, swallowing things, injuring yourself deliberately or abusing drugs or alcohol. Self harm amongst young people in the UK is quite common. Research suggests that it affects 1 in 15 young people. It is difficult to say how many people self harm because it can be very secretive.
Young people who self harm mainly do so because the have no other way of coping with difficult problems in their lives and do it to communicate what can’t be put into words or even into thoughts. It has been described as an ‘inner scream’ and is often used as a coping mechanism for survival, or escape, from the emotional turmoil.
Most people who do self harm are not suicidal, but a small minority will intentionally attempt suicide, some suicides resulting from self harming behaviour may be accidental. Unfortunately at times people who self harm experience negative attitudes from professionals, relatives, friends often being described as attention seekers and manipulative. Whatever the self harm whether deep wounds or slight injuries they should always be taken seriously. The severity of what they have done isn’t a measure of the size of the upset inside.
If you self harm or are worried about self harm please talk to someone about it. Your doctor or school nurse can help find you the right help and someone to talk to. If you don’t think you can keep yourself safe please go to A&E where you will be seen by a professional who can talk to you and help keep you safe.
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Information provided by Children and Family Services, LPFT