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Conditions

Self Harm

Self-harm occurs when someone deliberately injures themselves, usually as a result of depression or low self esteem. It typically manifests itself as cuts or burns on the skin, though it can also include people swallowing dangerous chemicals or misusing drugs and alcohol. People who self-harm usually do it in secret, and they will often try to hide their injuries from others, and the act of self-harming can in turn lower self-esteem further (through visible injuries) which can turn in to a vicious cycle.

Whilst some people self-harm only once, many people do it on a regular basis and it is hard to know just how widespread the problem is. If you are self harming, or suspect that someone you know may be self-harming, then medical attention should be sought immediately, as there is a higher possibility of suicide, either deliberately or accidentally. The physical damage caused by self-harming can be treated with first aid and by A&E if it is very serious, but the medical staff who treat you will need to refer you for a mental health assessment. Go to NHS Choices to find out more about this process.

For more information please use the following links:

Young Minds
selfharm.co.uk
Mind
National Self Harm Network
NHS Choices – Self Harm
Harmless
The Samaritans

Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites

Comments and Questions

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I've been self harming since I was 11, I'm now almost 17 and I still haven't told my parents - though I don't know how they haven't noticed, I'm literally covered in scars (on my thighs , legs, arms, stomach, ankle and even under my boob) I've tried pretty much everything to get rid of them but I just can't seem to :L does anyone one have a "secret" that they use to get rid of the scars? Xoxo





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I am also 17, but haven't been doing it as long as you I had been hiding it for around a year or so, but had started to get kinda deep, I didn't think about what I was doing. The other day my mum found out, we were about to go on an hour journey home and she saw, asked me I told her it was the cat. She didn't believe me, and was crying on the way home and looked so angry, and when we got home she made me show them her, and I finally realised how stupid it was, how I realised they will always be there, and she first said I need to see someone but I don't think I have to anymore, I told her I did it for just 2 months :/ I will eventually work up to it I guess I think it was a good thing them finding out though, although now I feel watched and I know I can't relapse or I'll be in for it! I recomend lemon juice on healed scars to bleach them and make them less noticable, and perhaps concealer or bio oil stay strong hun, you're awesome, don't need to punish yourself xx

I am also 17, but haven't been doing it as long as you I had been hiding it for around a year or so, but had started to get kinda deep, I didn't think about what I was doing. The other day my mum found out, we were about to go on an hour journey home and she saw, asked me I told her it was the cat. She didn't believe me, and was crying on the way home and looked so angry, and when we got home she made me show them her, and I finally realised how stupid it was, how I realised they will always be there, and she first said I need to see someone but I don't think I have to anymore, I told her I did it for just 2 months :/ I will eventually work up to it I guess I think it was a good thing them finding out though, although now I feel watched and I know I can't relapse or I'll be in for it! I recomend lemon juice on healed scars to bleach them and make them less noticable, and perhaps concealer or bio oil stay strong hun, you're awesome, don't need to punish yourself xx

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I'm an ex self harmer, I say ex but it never goes away really and for some people their scars haunt them. I'm 17 and I started around the age of 11 shortly after my dad passed away. At this time my ife was a mess a combination of drugs, drink and reckless living and self harm helped me cope. For me, although my scars annoy me so much and they're so embarrassing. I try not to let myself think I care anymore, I always try and remind myself that they are my battle scars and self harm helped me through, without it - I probably wouldn't be here today. I'm almost seven months clean all thanks to my best friend who has known for the past 3 years and never told a soul or gave up on me. With her encouragement and support, I am no longer afraid or embarrassed to wear shorts in summer or go swimming, we go swimming every week and I don't care what they look like even if people do notice and stare. I wouldn't say i'm proud because that's not true. I would just say that I have accepted my past and it has helped me grow and it's just one of those things.





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Hey, i'm 16 and last year was rough for me, so for three moths I self harmed. Thankfully i found out my other friend was self harming so we agreed to keep eachother accountable- now we are both 5 months clean! Anyway- I never cut deep or anything, but I have small white scars along my ankles and calves, both legs, on the inside. They aren't SUPER noticeable- but noticeable if you look closer- I'm really self conscious of them and I never wear shorts anymore. It's been easy over the winter- but summer is coming and I'm staying at my Aunts house for two months. Now my cousins are super judgmental and notice everything. They would definately tell my mom. And I don't want to dissapoint her. So I was wondering if there's any thing I can do to fade them? I can't really buy stuff, and I've already tried lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and none of those have really worked sadly. I don't know if I'm overreacting- maybe they aren't noticeable at all. But either way I want them gone. I have no choice but to wear shorts this summer as I will be going swimming and such. Please don't tell me to tell someone. It's not an option. I am not dissapointig my family like that. Thanks for any help. Ps- also I have even went to the extent of considering I slash up my legs and bit and go for a walk in the woods then tell my family I tripped and got tangled in branches. I know it's stupid but I'm desperate.





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Sometimes when I'm doing something and I get frustrated I'll scratch, pinch, and even punch my self sometimes. Is that self harm? I don't cut or burn or anything you normally hear about. And I don't when I'm sad. Just if I'm frustrate really bad. I'm 19 and have always done this most of the time I do it without realizing it until it's to late. As I've gotten older it hasn't been as often. I also have anxiety issues.





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hi im 14 this yr & i was self harming when i was 12. i didnt tell my parents but they found out eventually. they didnt take it t well at the start but once they knew why all they wanted to do was help me and keep me safe. i really wish they found out earlier though beacuse it helped a lot having their support. if u wanted to tell ur parents i would ask them if u could talk to them alone for a minute. then just tell the whole truth. i promise they will undestand.

I am 13 years old and self harm. I put this comment under a fake name so nobody would know. I got really angry when i saw that my friend had been self harming for attention. It hurt me and I also felt she was mocking and abusing the whole idea of self harm. I self harmed more. My mom saw alot of cuts on my arm and i told her I fell down and she genuinly believed me. I know my parents would get really really furious with me if i self harm as i have never told them my issues. how do i tell them without getting them mad? I would really appreciate any responses as i have no one to turn to.





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Hi I am also 13. If your parents would get mad at you for something that you need help on I would suggest talking to therapist and if you don't have access to one you can talk to your school guidance councilor. Before you tell him/her anything tell them about your parents and how you can't tell them. Of course they are going to tell your parents but from experience they are calmer when being told by another adult. I also have a question for you, do you have any violent thoughts? You might be put into a mental hospital if you do so you can get help from hurting yourself and others. I hope this kind of helps :)

Hi I'm 15 and I have self harmed like twice so I'm new but ll I do is burn my akin on my arm and its is all yellow and puss is coming off so I dnt know what to do because If I go to hospital they will ask me what happened and if they find out they will tell my grandparents / guardians also I have asked for help from my friend as I CNT help it ! But she don't know what to do cu I want to stop this but I know it's not that easy said than done so I dnt know and neither does she also I have 4 ppl in skl harassing me to see my burn because its over them , they are the reason I burnt my self plz advice plz !!!





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Hi, So I'm 16 and i've self harmed for the past 2 years by cutting. I have at least 30 scars on my left arm. And 10 on my right, They are all raised scars, and red. I was just wondering does anyone know how I can get the to fade or at least go white?





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I am entering my 5th year in recovery from self-harm (I'm 23 as of this posting). I went through several years of severe self-harming and left with a lot of scars. In the beginning of my recovery, all my scars were red even though they were no longer open wounds. The only thing that truly heals the red or sometimes purple scars is time. After 5 years of no longer self-harming, my scars are all white, the smaller ones are very faded, but the raised ones are still raised. Unfortunately, I never went to get some of the wounds stitched and they have left the most visible raised scars. You can buy scar reducer cream or oil but, like I said, the best healer is time.

If you get some scar treatment oils such as Bio-oil this could help improve the redness. Also I have heard that lemon juice helps but only on scars and not cuts, but I have never tried it on mine. Lastly, I know that there are treatments that a doctor can recommend to help improve it.

My raised red scars took a few years to fade, they went from angry red / purple to various shades of fading pink and eventually white. They're several years old now and are silvery-white. Massaging them can help, but it will take time for them to fade.

hi im 13 and one of my freinds self harms and she is quite under weight i am the only one she has told and i dont now wat to do





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It can be difficult for her to talk about it or stop doing it, so just be there for them and put her mind off of it. Dont pressure her to stop as it can be addictive. Try to make sure she looks after the cuts (cover them to stop infection/dont do cut too deep/use clean blades). Compliment her often, if you can. Raise her self-esteem. I hope this helps xxx

Thanks it does help but she is one of those girls who does do really deep cuts and sometimes she does loose quite a bit of blood I don't now if should tell some one

I'm guessing you are the same age. It is a lot if pressure on you right now. You are in no mans land. Whaling to keep your promise to your friend but don't want things to go really wrong. If she is deeply cutting it it dangerous especially near her wrists. Since she is under weight large loss of blood could be lethal. You are oy young and shouldn't have this much stress. You should phone child line they are very good and understanding. Seriously just have a wee phone call with them you can be quite relived.

my girlfriend selfs harms and it can get quite bad and its been getting worse lately and i dont know what to do can someone give me some advice





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be nice to her and try and talk her out of it some how goodluck friend :).

be nice to her and try and talk her out of it some how goodluck friend :).

It will be difficult for her but sit her down and talk to her about it. Make it clear that you won't tell anyone else if she doesn't want you to and also make it clear that you are trying to help. Try to find out why she does it and just stay calm

I'm 16 and I have recently descovered my friend (also 16 ) self harms. It was triggered over the beginning of the end of her relationship with her long term boy friend. She says now that it is not over him now. She doesn't know why she continues but says maybe because she is sad and angry I'm the only one who knows. She told another friend who claimed it was just attention seeking which it's not. And her relationship with her parents isn't bad it just like she never hugs them or sits close to them. They aren't close. She doesn't want to see a doctor as she doesn't want to be classed with mental issues. We live in a small remote town and rumours spread fast. She cuts on her tummy. When I first found out it was only at the bottom of her stomach but now she says it's her whole tummy. I've only found out in the passed month and have asked her to think about seeing a gp and to tell me if she feels worse like suicidel. She comes over to mine a lot recently so she isn't alone and I know she can't harm. I don't mean to sound harsh or horried but I'm stressed also with school and now I feel responsible for her. Can any one offer advice? It's 3am and I find I dwell on things at night and take forever to get to sleep and this has prolonged the issue. I just want to know if any one can offer some advice. I haven't told anyone not even my mum(she's a nurse) as I'm affair she'll tell someone at work meaning to help but it may spread about town and I don't want my friend to feel betreyed. We arnt very girly friends as in we don't talk about boys or our feelings. I just feel lost.





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