A lot of people who self-harm don’t ask for help. Why not? You might be aware that you have some serious problems, but don’t feel that you can tell anyone – so you don’t talk about it. You may not feel that you do have a serious problem, but see self-harm as a way to cope with life. Unfortunately, at the moment, if you do go to hospital after self-harming, you’ve only got a 50:50 chance of being seen by a specialist in this area.
You are most likely to harm yourself badly if you:
- use a dangerous or violent method
- self-harm regularly
- don’t see many people
- have a mental illness.
You should really see someone who has a lot of experience of helping people who self-harm, and who knows about mental health problems.
What help is there?
- Talking with a non-professional
You may find it helpful just to talk anonymously to someone else about what is happening to you. Knowing that someone else knows what you are going through can help you to feel less alone with your problems. It can also help you to think about your difficulties more clearly – maybe even see ways of solving them that you wouldn’t think of on your own. You can do this on the internet (but go to safe sites) or by telephone. Telephone helplines are listed in the links section.
- Self-help groups
A group of people, who all self-harm, meet regularly to give each other emotional support and practical advice. Just sharing your problems in a group can help you to feel less alone – others in the group will almost certainly have had similar experiences.
- Help with relationships
Sometimes self-harm is the result of a crisis in a close relationship. If this is the case, get some help with sorting out the relationship – it may be more difficult in the short-term, but it will be better for you (certainly less dangerous) in the long-term.
- Talking with a professional
One-to-one talking treatments can help, such as:
- Problem solving therapy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Family meetings
If you are still living with your family, it may help to have a family meeting with a therapist. This can help to relieve the tiring, daily stress for everyone in the family. It is not always appropriate, for instance, if you are the victim of physical or sexual abuse within your family.
- Group therapy
This is different from a self-help group. A professional will lead (or facilitate) the group to help the members to deal with problems they share, for example, in getting on with other people.