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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.

More more about self-harm or harm to self

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.

Self-harm includes:

  • 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

Self-help materials

There are some things you could try which can help you stop self-harming or stop you thinking about harming yourself:

  • listen to music

  • talk to friends or family

  • write down or drawing how you feel

  • exercise and get outdoors

  • use Childline’s Wall of Expression game to let go of difficult feelings

  • Draw a butterfly where you'd normally hurt yourself. Use it to remind yourself not to self-harm and to keep trying

However, if these do not work, it may be time to seek help from your Primary Mental Health Worker or your doctor.




Useful books

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.

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 videos

Watch videos in self-harm or harm to self playlist on our YouTube channel.


However you're feeling, it can be great to express yourself and do things you enjoy. Take your mind off things with games, finding new ways to handle your emotions.

Get more support

Self Harm UK - Online chat service and support.

Youth Access - Offers a directory of local youth information, advice and counselling services for young people aged 14-25.

The Mix - Online group chat/discussion boards supporting children and young people with a variety of mental health issues.

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger- Free 24/7 support across the UK.

NHS Northumberland, Tyne & Wear - Self-help leaflets.

Psychology Tools - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Worksheets, Handouts, And Self-Help Resources.

HeadMeds - Gives general information about medication. HeadMeds does not give medical advice.

Kooth - Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people, accredited counsellors for mental health needs.

Childline - Information and advice.

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