There are a lot of myths and false beliefs around self harm that can stop people reaching out for support. Not everyone who self-harms has the same experience, but often it is a way to cope with severe and real emotional pain, so your friend may need your support now more than ever.

Tips:

  • If someone opens up to you about self-harm, try not to panic or show judgement. It can be a hard thing to talk about, and your reaction might have an impact on their willingness to talk about it in future.
  • Listen to what they’re saying and let them know you’re there for them
  • If they’re open to it, talk to them about the feelings that are driving the self harm, and if it feels appropriate, encourage them to seek help.
  • Self-harm is not the same as attempted suicide, but someone who is self-harming is at increased risk of suicide - the only way to know is to ask.

If you want to find out more, you can read Mind’s information on self harm.

“I remember the first time I ever confided in someone that I’d been self-harming like it happened yesterday, and not for the reasons you might think. There was no judgement, no fear, no nastiness at all. She simply said that she was there if I needed her.” – Millie