What is Self-Harm?
For more information on Self Harm visit the Young Minds website.
Signs someone might be Self-Harming
Remember that there is no stereotypical person who self-harms. The majority of children & young people go to great lengths to hide the evidence of their self-harm, the following may be signs to be aware of:
- Always keeping skin covered up, wearing long sleeves in summer
- Not wanting to go swimming, or avoiding PE and other games activities
- Cuts, scars, burns or unusual marks on skin
- Drinking or drug use
- Recent weight loss, or weight gain
In addition, you may notice
- Changes in personality
- Lack of interest in life
- Wanting to be alone
- Expressing feelings of self-blame, failure, uselessness, hopelessness or anger
Recommended self-care and management tips?
WRAP could help you:
- Discover your own simple, safe Wellness Tools
- Develop a list of things to do every day to stay as well as possible
- Identify upsetting events, early warning signs and signs that things have gotten much worse and, using Wellness Tools, develop action plans for responding at these times
- Guide you through the process of developing a Crisis Plan or Advance Directive
- Introduce you to Post Crisis Planning for more information on how to make an action plan visit the website.
The app contains four categories of tasks which target the main reasons people self-harm. Distract helps to combat the urge by learning self-control; Comfort helps to care rather than harm; Express gets those feelings out in a different way and Release provides safe alternatives to self-injury. Available on iPhone, iPad and Android.
Worried about a friend?
If you are worried a friend may be self-harming consider talking to them about it. Try not to let self-harm become the focus of your discussion but the reasons behind the act. Here are some tips for taking about self-harm:
- Let them know that their emotions are real and important
- Remind them of their strengths and abilities
- Reassure them that you do not think they are a failure whatever their difficulties
- Explain to them that you want to help but may not know the best thing to do and that you may have to seek support from others
- Try to come up with a solution together
- Watch for signs of bullying or abuse that may be triggering self-harm
- Support them to implement their WRAP (Wellness & Recovery Action Plan) if they have one.
- Remind them that people care
- Provide them with a safe space to talk and share their fears & concerns
- Be honest about having to share information with an appropriate adult
- Avoid judgmental comments or telling the person to stop self-harming
Where can you go for help?
If you are worried about how you are feeling, or worried about a friend, there are loads of places you can get support and advice. You could talk to a friend, family member or trusted adult, your school nurse or GP. In some circumstances your GP may refer you to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service). You can find out more about CAMHS by clicking here.
What to do in an emergency.
If you are concerned about a self-harm wound or other serious self-harm act you should seek emergency medical help through your local Accident and Emergency service.Overdoses:
- Get the person to an emergency department as soon as possible
- Try to find out what they have taken and tell emergency medical staff
- If they won’t tell you, look around for empty pill bottles or blister packs
- Apply pressure to bleeding cuts using a bandage or towel (a tea towel may be less
likely to stick to the wound)
- If the wound is superficial clean the wound under running tap water and apply a sterile adhesive dressing
- If the wound has become infected (e.g., swelling, pus forming or spreading
redness), seek medical help
- Cool with cold water for 10 minutes or longer if possible, then cover with cling film
- Don’t use ice or any creams or greasy substances such as butter
The Shelf Titles are part of a national scheme aimed at improving emotional health and well-being.
The library service can lend you books to support your emotional well-being. The Shelf Help booklist is aimed at young people, and offers advice about issues such as bullying and exams, as well as mental health conditions such as anxiety, stress and OCD. The titles have been chosen and endorsed by professionals. Copies of the titles are available for loan from the Central Library. More details can be found on the library web pages.