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Why do people hurt themselves?

Life today’s pretty tricky, particularly if you’re young and trying to cope with lots of change and an uncertain future.

Some people self-harm to help them deal with stress or stay calm when it all gets too much for them. Others say self-harm gives them the control they don’t have in other areas of their life. But there are much better ways of dealing with your pain, through talking to people you trust and getting the help and support you need.

There’s loads of reasons young people self-harm, these are sometimes called ‘triggers’. Here’s a few so you get the idea:

  • bullying
  • changes at home
  • stress at school
  • problems with friends
  • feeling lonely or depressed
  • someone dying
  • struggles with food
  • confidence issues
  • abuse (verbal, physical or sexual)

Don’t keep things to yourself

Some people use self-harm as a way of dealing and coping with emotional turmoil, but there are better ways of dealing with your pain.

If you’re bottling up your feelings, and not sharing them with your friends, family or someone you trust, then the pain, frustration and fear build up and destructive feelings can turn inward. Some people describe an inner scream building up over time, and self-harm releasing it.

Top tips for getting help

Help illustration The sooner you look for help, or talk to someone about self-harming, the less established your habits will be and you’ll stand a better chance of stopping. So don’t delay.
Try to be honest with yourself and identify what’s causing you to self-harm. Then think about how you could deal with that issue too.
People illustration Self-harm may help you deal with things in the short-term, but remember long-term it’s destructive and hard to leave behind. So look for support now!

More information about Self harm

This NHS video is really helpful for understanding why some people self-harm and gives advice for people who are struggling with self-harm.

Harmless are a charity who provide help and support to people who self-harm, as well as for their friends and families.

Watch this short animation about self-harm made by young people at Scarborough Child and Adolescent Mental Helath Service (CAHMS).

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