Navigation Menu Icon

Self-harm or harm to self

Self-harm is an expression of personal distress, not a mental illness in itself. There are many reasons why you may self-harm or think about harming yourself; it may be due to an underlying mental health problem, stress at home or school or you may have experienced some form of trauma such as bullying or abuse.

For some young people, self-harm is linked to specific experiences and is a way of dealing with something that is either happening now or which happened in the past. For others, the reasons are less clear and can be harder to make sense of.


Video: 4 Ways to Cope with Self-Harm ft. Hannah | Childline

More more about self-harm or harm to self

Self-harm can include:

  • cutting or scratching

  • causing bruises

  • banging their head against a wall

  • punching a wall

  • pulling out their hair

  • burning themselves

  • falling over on purpose

  • breaking a bone on purpose

  • controlling the amount of food they eat to an unhealthy level

  • over-exercising to the point it becomes unhealthy

Around 10-30% of teenagers self-harm at some point during their life*. With the right help and support to reduce underlying stresses and treat mental health problems, young people can be helped to stop self-harming.


* Mental Health Foundation

Support resources

Self-help materials

CAMHS Resources - This site was created for young people, carers and professionals to pool together lots of helpful resources from across the internet that are available to help support mental health and well-being. 

onyourmindglos - Helpful guides about emotional health.

Get Self Help - This website provides CBT self-help and therapy resources, including worksheets and information sheets and self-help mp3s.

Centre for Clinical Interventions - Self-help resources for mental health problems.

Useful apps

  • Calm Harm provides tasks to help children and young people resist or manage the urge to self-harm.

  • BlueIce is an evidenced-based app to help young people manage their emotions and reduce urges to self-harm. It includes a mood diary, a toolbox of evidence-based techniques to reduce distress and automatic routing to emergency numbers if urges to harm continue.

Useful books


Visit the Young Minds website

Young Minds are a UK charity fighting for children and young people's mental health.

The Young Minds website has lots of really useful information about young people's mental health. Watch videos of real life stories, read blog posts from young people, learn more about mental health and find resources and support.

Explore the Young Minds webpage about self-harm (opens in new window) to find out more about self-harm, how you can keep yourself safe and get support.

Young Minds logo

Further information

Much of the content on this website has been put together using resources sourced from a range of different charities and organisations.

Click on the logos below to go to each organisations website to explore more about mental health. 

Kooth logo Youth Access logo
Togetherall logo Mind logo
Childline logo Papyrus logo
The Mix logo Samaritans logo