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Parents, Friends, Professionals

How you can help

If you are concerned that someone is self harming there are some signs you can look out for:

  • Physical injuries, scars or regular fresh wounds
  • Disappearing during emotional times
  • Loose, long sleeved or baggy clothes – even when warm
  • Isolating themselves and not wanting to engage with others.
  • Low mood and negative talk – especially about themselves.

It is important to note that these are just some signs that could perhaps show someone is having self harm issues People may not exhibit these signs and still be struggling with self harm.

If you suspect someone is self harming or they have told you they are self harming;

  • It is going to be hard for you as you may feel a range of emotions and feel unsure of what to do. These feelings are perfectly normal. However it is important to make sure that first conversation is a positive one -
  • Listen fully to them and their feelings
  • Don’t blame
  • Don’t judge or make assumptions
  • Stay calm and collected
  • Show them you care
  • Don’t tell them to stop – this can be counterproductive as they feel this is the only way they can cope.
  • Reassure them and take it seriously
  • Be empathetic, and supportive – treat them normally.

Other ways you can help is by recognising things that could support them other than yourself. You could suggest they contact our helpline.


Gloucestershire Council
Care Quality Commission

Gloucestershire Self Harm helpline is a partnership between Rethink Mental Illness and Gloucestershire County Council.

Rethink Mental Illness is a registered charity in the UK. Registered in England Number 1227970. Registered Charity Number 271028.