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What is Self Harm?

Self harm is an umbrella term for behaviours that can cause injury or danger to yourself. The most common form of self harm is self injury. Self injury is when you damage or injure your body on purpose to relieve the feeling of extreme distress. This is often described as an internal scream. Self harm or self injury can take many different forms. Some examples include:

  • Cutting
  • Burning
  • Scalding with hot water
  • Banging or scratching your body
  • Breaking bones
  • Hair pulling or picking your skin
  • Self-strangulation
  • Sticking sharp objects into your body
  • Taking things that are poisonous

Self-harm and suicidal thoughts are different. People who feel suicidal want to take their own life. If you self-harm it does not necessarily mean you want to end your life. If you're feeling suicidal find out more about how to cope.


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.