What is self harm?

Self-harm is when you hurt yourself as a way of coping with some thoughts or feelings that can make you feel overwhelmed, these can be caused by many different things.

Not everybody understands why they self-harm and you do not have to know in order to access help. Other people will know why they self-harm and can link it to an experience or event in their life.

Although self-harm may serve you a “purpose” in the moment, it does carry risk. It is not the long-term answer, or solution, to the underlying cause.

Why do people self harm?

How you self-harm may not always be obvious, there are many different ways and there is not just one cause. Some examples of why people self-harm could be:

A visible outcome to some thoughts, or feelings, you cannot express
A sense of ritual or control
To feel something, even if it is pain
To show someone else you are “in pain”
As a punishment towards ourselves
To express overwhelming thoughts or feelings
An expression of suicidal thoughts
To give a buzz, release or relief
Loss or bereavement
Body image
Lifestyle changes
Relationship issues
Poor self-esteem
Mental health issues

This list is not all the reasons for self-harming.

 How to seek support

  • Complete the self-referral on this website and you will be contacted on your school email by a mental health professional
  • Go to your GP
  • Speak to a trusted adult
  • Look on line for information, for example:


You are not alone and will not be judged, support is available.

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