What is self-harm?
Who self-harms?
Why do people self-harm?
How can you help yourself?
How can you help someone else?
You are not alone

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How Can You Help Yourself?

Girl holds armUnfortunately there is no easy answer, as self-harm is a very complex behaviour which no-one fully understands. However, there are things you can do to help control the need to harm yourself and find other ways of coping with the emotional pain. The habit of self-harm is a long term thing to break because new ways of life need to be learned, yet people DO stop harming themselves, and you can too.

Suggestions of things to do

  • Remember that a lot of things that have happened to you in the past has been out of your control, and that you are not to blame.
  • Learn to nurture and take care of yourself by doing things which make you feel pampered and loved. Read a good book, treat yourself to something new. -Whatever it is that makes you feel loved, do it.
  • Try to write down your feelings before you harm yourself, such as why you feel you need to, or what's caused you to feel this way. Some find that poetry helps, or even just scrawling down any words that come into your mind when you are feeling the urge to harm yourself.
  • Instead of cutting yourself, try drawing on your body with bright colours, or buy a 'special' pen which you can mark your body with instead of a blade.
  • Ask friends to write down things that they like about you and keep these in a place where they are visible
  • Holds scalpel to armWhen you feel that you need to harm yourself, speak to someone who you trust and explain how you are feeling at that moment. Keep talking until the urge goes away and, if possible, stay in the company of others.

If you do still harm yourself, remember that recovery takes a long time and no-one expects you to stop straight away. Set yourself small goals (such as not harming yourself for a day) and congratulate yourself when you achieve them. Then you can gradually build up these goals while you have time to deal with the emotional pain.

What is it? | Who does it? | Why? | Help yourself | Help someone else | You're not alone