Understanding Self Harm
Self-harm—deliberately hurting yourself as a way of dealing with difficult or overwhelming feelings—affects young people from all sections of society. However, evidence suggests that care-experienced young people are at a much greater risk of self harm than others.
Self-harm is a very complex issue. Young people who self harm usually do it because something else in their lives feels wrong. Sometimes self harm can be physical, but it can also be less obvious; exercising excessively or putting yourself in risky situations. You may feel better temporarily after you self harm, but the things that cause you to do it won’t have disappeared. You might feel like no one understands why you self-harm, that people might judge you negatively or that they might not be interested in helping you at all. You’re not alone in feeling this; it’s thought that around 13% of young people will harm themselves on purpose at some point.
There are practical steps you can take to support yourself, and the online resources below can help you in your first steps towards living without needing to self harm. When you’re ready to reach out, it’s very important that you talk to someone you trust: a friend, a doctor, a trusted adult. At Kibble all our front-line staff and managers are trained in self harm interventions, and will work with you to beat self harming behaviours. We actively support young people at risk of self-harm with an individualised safety and support plan. Our Specialist Intervention Service can work with you to address the underlying issues causing you distress, help you to identify triggers and to make positive changes in your life.
Further Information & Support
There are lots of websites and forums out there for young people who self harm, some far better than others. We’ve put together a list of some of the best resources available online now.
- Self Harm UK is a project set-up to support young people affected by self harm. Their site is full of positive stories of recovery, information and articles.
- Mind, the UK charity for better mental health, has a dedicated section of their site that provides advice on treatment and support for people who self harm.
- The National Self Harm Network runs an online forum that provides crisis support, information, advice and discussions for people who self-harm and those that support them.
- LifeSIGNS is a website developed by and for young people who self harm. It aims to encourage a better understanding of self harm, and to empower young people who self harm to make positive, self-directed changes in their lives.
- SAMH, the Scottish Association for Mental Health, has published a guide to understanding self harm, the reasons for it and the support available.
- Self Injury Support is a charity that supports young women and girls who are affected by self harm. They run a self harm helpline, which is open Monday through to Thursday from 7-10pm, and you can call them for free on 0800 8008088. Their website is full or resources and information for young women who self harm.