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 children and young people may self-harm; it may be due to an underlying mental health problem, stress at home or school or they 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.

There are many ways people can self-harm and they vary from making cuts on their bodies, taking overdoses of medication or putting themselves in risky situations. Not all self-harm is linked to thoughts of suicide, but young people who do self-harm are at greater risk of suicide, so it is important that properly trained mental health professionals assess the risk of this.

Around 10-30% of teenagers will 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.

  • Lancashire and South Cumbria "Reading for Health" offer - The "Reading for Health" offer includes book schemes which provide helpful information and self-help techniques for managing common conditions, including anxiety and depression. These books have been recommended and are used by health professionals in the treatment of health and wellbeing conditions. Find out more - Reading Well for Young People 

Eresource icon.png e-Resources

Mental Health First Aid England - Downloadable resources/leaflets, single page PDF posters that school can use and videos for training.

Young Minds - Training courses, free downloadable booklets/leaflets and posters/resources/materials/lesson plans for teachers and school staff – also available to order at a cost.

Royal College of Psychiatrists - Online advice, guidance and downloadable factsheets for staff, parents and CYP to use (good for parents’ evenings) with leaflets available to order at a cost.

MIND - Information booklets and leaflets.

MindEd - MindEd is a free educational resource on children and young people's mental health for all adults.

Psychology Services Limited - Free online resources and videos (registration is required).

The Mix - Information for professionals and CYP about a variety of MH issues.

Lancashire Safeguarding Children’s Board - Infographics on a variety of topics.

Playfield Institute - Hands On - Help and practical advice for supporting children and young people's mental health and emotional wellbeing.

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.

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

Psychology Tools - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) worksheets, handouts and self-help resources.

onyourmindglos - Helpful guides about emotional health.

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.

Self Harm UK - "Alumina" is free and is run by SelfharmUK for young people aged 14 and above. It is an online programme that is run a couple of nights a week by trained counsellors; it’s a safe place to explore how you are doing, what your struggles are and receive support for your harming behaviour. It’s done in a chat room style so that no –one can see you, it’s confidential (you can use a different name) and young people can only chat to each other in the ‘public’ forums, so you feel safer.

Stemming Teenage Mental Illness - Advice and guidance.

Achieve Change and Engagement (A.C.E.) - Resources to help improve emotional health and wellbeing.

Self-harm awareness for all (SAFA) - Advice, support, counselling and training. Based in Barrow-in-Furness.

We Are With You - Substance misuse service for under 25s including a mind and body programme. Young Addaction supports young people to understand the effects of their substance misuse and helps them to make informed choices.

National Self Harm Network - Online support forum.

  • 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. 

Training icon (2).png Training 

  • Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training - for professionals working with children and young people aged 8-18. Focused on prevention, signposting and early recognition. 2-day and 1-day courses. 

  • Lancashire Mind run Suicide Prevention Training. Check their website for which courses are currently running.

  • Self-harm training is provided by the Lancashire Emotional Health in Schools Service. The training will be led by Dr. Richard Slinger, LEHSS Service Lead and his team within Lancaster University. These sessions are aimed at primary and secondary school, college staff, especially SENCOs, pastoral leads, mentors, or any other staff with specific responsibility for pupils’ emotional health. It is particularly relevant for schools developing a ‘Designated Lead for Mental Health’ role. Limited free places are available to staff employed by a primary, secondary or college within the Lancashire County Council area. For more information visit the lehss website.
  • MIND offer training on a variety of topics. Check their website for which courses are currently running.

  • MindEd provides online training in emotional and behavioural ‘first aid’ and essential therapeutic skills for all those involved in the mental wellbeing and care of children and young people in the UK. Check their website for which courses are currently running.

Information-guidance-icon.png Other guidance

Help-advice-icon.png Further help or advice

If you cannot find the help or advice you are searching for or you need other support for a child or young person, please contact your local CAMHS team.

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