Self-harm can be really hard to understand but it is a lot more common than some people think. Very often it is hidden and secretive and someone can be harming him or herself for a long time before they go to get help.

We all get stressed and feel low at times. When we feel like that, we have to find ways to cope with our feelings.

It is good to try to cope with stress and other difficult emotions in positive ways. Sometimes people don’t know how to do this, so they use self-harm as a way of coping with the difficult feelings that get bottled up over time.

This can also happen if the person feels the techniques they are trying are not enough for them or don’t feel okay enough to remember to use them.

However, there are lots of ways to cope with difficult feelings. Some possibilities are:

  • talking to someone you trust working out a new coping strategy,
  • maybe going for a run
  • writing poetry or stories

Self-harm is often a very private thing and so confiding in someone and getting help can be really difficult. If you are worried about self-harm, there are things you can do to help yourself as well.

It might be helpful to ask yourself some of the following questions to try to understand self-harm:

  • what was happening in your life when you first began to feel like harming yourself?
  • what seems to trigger the feeling now?
  • are you always at a certain place or with a particular person?
  • do you have thoughts or memories that are too frightening to tell someone?
  • is there anything else you can think of that makes you want to harm yourself?

Young Minds has a good booklet about self-harm.

Source: Young Minds


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