An app to help you reduce self-harm
Trigger warning! This page contains information about self-harm which may bring up difficult feelings.
Self- harm is difficult to talk about and can be really hard to understand, but it is a lot more common than people think. At least 1 in 12 young people self-harm and this is probably an under-estimation – so if you are self-harming you are not alone, and there is help available.
Self-harm is when people hurt themselves on purpose, usually as a way of coping with or communicating overwhelming or distressing feelings. Self-harm should be seen as a symptom of distress or a sign that something is wrong. Young people who self-harm often say this helps to release the build-up of difficult feelings or to express intense emotions. However, self-harm only provides a temporary relief and in the long run can make people feel worse.
In the media self-harm is often linked to suicide and in rare and serious cases this may be true, but it is important to understand that most young people who self-harm are trying to make themselves feel better and it is normally a way of coping or asking for help.
How do people self-harm?
There are many ways that people self-harm. When people talk about self-harm they normally mean cutting, however burning, pulling out hair, scratching and picking at skin, causing bruises, hitting walls or head-banging are also common forms of self-harm. Over-dosing on tablets and swallowing poisons or sharp objects are serious forms of self-harm.
At times we might all turn to destructive or negative behaviours to cope with stress – such as drinking too much, taking drugs, eating fast food, starving ourselves, over exercising or risk taking. These are often seen as socially acceptable behaviours, but could also be thought of as deliberate self-harm. Sometimes self-harm is just a one-off, however for some people it can become repetitive and they can come to rely on it as a way to cope with feelings.
Self-harm is most common in young people aged 11 – 25yrs, older adults self-harm less than young people. It is hard to tell how many people self-harm as it is often very private, but research suggests around 10 – 15% of young people in the UK regularly self-harm, and while it is more common in young women, rates are increasing among young men. Around 25,000 young people are admitted to hospital each year due to the severity of their injuries. Self-harm is something that can affect anyone and does not depend on your gender, age, religion, ethnicity or background. If you are self-harming it is important to remember you are not alone in this and there are people who are there to listen to and support you.