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Helping someone to stop

If you think someone close to you is self-harming don’t panic. Worrying won’t solve their problems. And remember you’re not responsible for keeping them safe and well.

Here’s some ways you might be able to help:

Top tips for helping someone close to you

Listen if your friend wants to talk. Remember they’ll have really struggled to open up to you, so listen well.
ear illustration Don’t feel you need to give them advice. You’re not the expert round here. But keep listening and try to understand, even if it’s a stretch.
Remind yourself self-harm is dangerous, but most people who self-harm aren’t thinking about ending their life, just about coping with today’s problems.
Help illustration Ask your friend how you can help, what you can do for them right now. They might struggle to know what they need or put it into words. If they’re confused, help them to find the support they need.
If your friend mentions suicide or doing something really dangerous, then you must get someone else involved (a parent or teacher; someone you trust). But don’t do this without telling them what your plan is.
You don’t have to do this on your own. You need to encourage your friend to ask for professional help and support. Stick around as a friend they can trust and talk to.
Fun stuff checklist illustration Don’t focus on self-harm. Be a good friend, plan stuff which they’ll enjoy and keeps their minds off self-harm.
Putting self-harm behind you can be a long, slow process, so be prepared to be super patient with your friend.

More useful information

Remember, you don’t have to be an expert to help a friend. They want someone who’ll listen, try to understand and be supportive. But if you want to find out more, then try Mind’s advice.
Mind also runs through what treatment and support is available, so you could read that too.
Harmless supports family and friends trying to help those who self-harm, and has a range of information on its website.

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