What is Self Harm?


You might feel that you are the only one who self-harms. You might feel like people close to you won’t understand. Sharing your experiences can help with your recovery. You don’t have to tell someone in person, it might be easier to write it in a letter. Below are some things to think about when you are going to tell someone.

Who do I tell?

Decide who you want to tell first. Choose someone you feel comfortable with. Talking to someone else can help you figure out how you feel about it and if you want to tell others. This maybe someone close to you. Or you may prefer to speak with your GP or a self-harm emotional support line.

You may feel frightened to talk to certain people about self-harm. Friends and family may be able to support you to have this conversation.

What do I tell them?

Think about what you are going to say before you begin your conversation. It can help if you know what you want to say and how you want to say it. You could say it out loud once or twice to hear how it sounds.

Whoever you tell is likely to ask you questions. Think about the questions they may ask and your answers. Remember that you only have to tell them information that you are happy for them to know.

When do I say it?

Try to find the right time to tell someone. Make sure they aren’t distracted with something else. Make sure you are not upset or angry. Even something as simple as being hungry or tired can make it hard to focus and deal with information. Choose a time that suits you both.

Where do I tell them?

Think about where you are going to tell them. You may want this to be a private place so that others can’t overhear. Pick a place where you feel safe and are both comfortable.

Why am I telling them?

Don’t assume they understand why you’re telling them. Let them know. You might tell them because:

  • you want to share yourself,
  • you might feel that you have given them the wrong impression about how you feel or why you self-harm, or
  • you want support to stop self-harming.

What do I do if they struggle to understand?

They may struggle to understand. Even professionals may struggle to understand. But this doesn’t mean that they don’t care or want to help you. Be patient with them and do your best to answer their questions to help them to understand what is going on.