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Self-Harm

Reducing barriers to learning.


'Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body. It's usually a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress.'

Taken from NHS website

   About self-harm

Self-harm describes a wide range of behaviours that people use to cope with difficult feelings and distressing life experiences. The majority of people have no intention of ending their life, most do so to manage their feelings. It is estimated that 1 in 15 young people in the UK have deliberate...Read more

   Further help

Useful websites include: National Self-Harm Network...Read more

   How self-harm works

What young people have said: Distraction - the physical pain takes the focus away from the emotional pain.Self-punishing - some experience self-hatred or blame and use self-harm to punish themselves.Cleansing ...Read more

   Things to think about

Is the child/adolescent being bullied?Do you know if they've suffered any other abuse?Do you know if they've experienced a bereavement?Are they in conflict with parents or other family members?Do they or their parents/carers have a chronic illness, disabi...Read more

   Think about yourself

Self-harm in children and adolescents can lead to strong feelings of anxiety, fear and frustration in the people who are trying to support them. The management of these feelings is an important factor in supporting the child or adolescent. To help you do this, try not to focus too much o...Read more

   What can you do?

Listening and caring is the most important thing you can do to help - showing that you want to know and understand, can make a lot of difference. Seeing the person behind the self-harm is important to show that you care about the whole person and not just the self-harm. Acknowledge t...Read more

   When to consider Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)?

It is usually best not to make decisions about risk on your own, but rather in consultation with a senior colleague, or with a CAMHS worker (see below). In order to make a judgement about the level of risk, it is important to take time to talk to the child/adolescent and to enquire about their i...Read more