Helping yourself

The urges to self-harm will ease with time. If you can cope with your distress without self-harming for a time, it will get easier over the next few hours. You can:

  • Talk to someone – if you are on your own perhaps you could phone a friend. Telephone helplines are listed at the end of this leaflet.
  • If the person you are with is making you feel worse, go out.
  • Distract yourself by going out, listening to music, or by doing something harmless that interests you.
  • Relax and focus your mind on something pleasant – your very own personal comforting place.
  • Find another way to express your feelings such as squeezing ice cubes (which you can make with red juice to mimic blood if the sight of blood is important), or just drawing red lines on your skin.
  • Give yourself some ‘harmless pain’ – eat a hot chilli, or have a cold shower.

Self Help: Coping tips and distractions

No one is going to tell you that it’s easy to stop self-harming, especially when you’re doing it because you see no other way out. But by finding alternatives, you may be able to reduce the urge to self-harm, as well as minimising the damage.

Remember they are many ways of coping with urges to self-harm and you may have tried a number of alternatives, but keep trying until you find something that works for you. There are several ways you can cope with self-harming whether it is by distracting yourself, or by finding a substitute for self-harm.