Self Harm

What is self harm?

Self-harm is a person’s way of expressing deep distress when they can’t put into words or even thoughts what they are feeling. Whilst self-harm is not a mental illness, a person with a mental illness is more likely to self-harm than other people. It’s not to do with attention-seeking, although it is a cry for help; the adrenalin rush created by some forms of self-harm actually brings the person some temporary relief from their inner anguish.

People who self-harm often hide what they are doing because they feel ashamed or afraid.

How common is self harm?

Women, and young women in particular, self-harm more than men. Ten per cent of 15 to 16 year olds are thought to have self-harmed, usually by cutting themselves.

Why is it important to get treatment?

It is very hard for a person to get out of a cycle of self-harming without professional help. One in three people who self-harm for the first time will do it again during the following year. Over the long term, people can do their bodies and their relationships a great deal of damage, until they get help.


If you are struggling with self-harm, please contact a crisis service.