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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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Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

Hey I'm 14 years old (female) and have moderate/ severe depression and severe anxiety and frequently get panic attacks. Mostly it it linked to homophobia/ bullying at school which has been going on since my started school. Now I am self harming quite a bit but I don't know if I should talk to a doctor? My family don't know much about it either which makes me pannic a lot! What should I do?





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I'm 14 and I self harm. I'v been feeling depressed for a while, I just don't fit in with my friends. My broken family drives me crazy, I'v lost interest in almost everything. I keep hiding my emotions and put on a happy face for the benefit of others, but inside I'm dying. I have no one who I can really talk to who understands me, they would just think I'm an attention seeker! Its summer now and I'm worried my mum will see my arm. I just don't no what to do? self harm is my only option! :(





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Hi Jade, Im 29 and I can tell you, what you are feeling is completly normal, I cant say I have been in that position, but I can tell you this: You are not alone, there are many people feeling the same or worse than you are, the best you can do is to be honest "say what you think and do what you say" and find ways to help othes feel better. Its amazing how by helping others you help yourself. Keep your head up, the world is waiting to see how bright you can be in the middle of darkness. Your ideas are valuable and can really make a difference in our planet. You just have to decide to make them real. If you want, talk to me, I listen.

Im often really down and just cant be bothered with anything, i always feel left out and my family stress me out all ive been thinking about is self harm, but my family always laugh at people who do and say theyre pathetic and how its just attention seeking, All i want too do is hurt myself but im so scared my family will find out i dont know what to do





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OMG is all I can think reading this!!! I too am a self harder and have been for yrs but I'm trying hard now to come out the other side now and I doing a corse to become a mental health worker and my current paper is on self harm..... I really find it sad how young most of your are, it sad that at such an age you feel the world has treated you this badly that you need to turn to this. As a society we should be ashamed of our attitudes to mental health. I fort for a yr to get my gps to listen to me, I was going in weekly to daily having overdosed or self harmed cos I needed help....all they did is turn me away and called me an attention seeker. At my worse I was trying to kill myself two to three times a week!!! It took a final effort were I nearly died for them to get mental health services involved, but even then it did not get better cos I was told they can't help me until I stop trying to kill myself! Well is that not why I needed help because I was trying to kill myself and saw no future....it took me to sack my cpn and finally I was assigned a lady who was amazing! She just got me, helped me, listend to me and got me all the theropy and support I needed to come out the other side alive! Yes it took yrs and my mum died during all this but still she stood by me, supported me, and now I have my life to thank her for being the most amazing person I have ever met!! Now I want to spend my life fighting to get the system of mental health better and help people myself, this is why I find it heart breaking how young u all r. Pls trust someone who has come out of 5yrs of self harm and overdoses, it can be done but it's slow and hard, just find that one person who u can turn to. Good luck everyone xx





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I been self harm from the age of 11 I am now 33 I am still doing it. I am going deeper and deeper about a month ago I cut a blood vessels and I couldnt get the bleed under control I went 2 a&e. I just feel i am in hell at the minute and there is no way out for me.I have ask my gp for help and he ask me why I came to him.





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Be honest, if you truly need help it will be worth it. It is never too late to stop. There is always a way out, i am gonna be cliché and tell you that it gets better. Because I know from experience that from your point of view it looks like it will never be any worse. Just know that there are over 7 billion people on this planet, and how many are just like you. There are tons out there that understand you and want to help you. You are not alone and there will always be a way out no matter what the situation you're in.

I'm 14 now and have self harmed since the age of 11 due to pressure and stress and home and at school, when my mum found out she took me straight to A&E and they had told her to refer me to a doctor, I later went to a doctor and they had asked me lots of questions. after they sent me to somewhere that deals with 'anxiety disorder' which was CAMHS which in my opinion didn't help me but my mum thinks that it does because it had stopped me from doing it, 1 year on after going to CAMHS I have done it twice but my mam finds out which gives me more of the urge to do it, I find it quite sick how some people take Selfharm as a joke or do it for a laugh or for attention, makes these people who do it for an actual reason feel even more down, it's not worth self harming, speak to someone about it who you can trust





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I self harmed from the age of 10 to 19 as a result of child hood abuse. I have not self harmed for nearly 7 years and i am currently at university studieing to become a psychologist inorder to help others like me, but i am left with hideous scars on my forearms and thighs. I am so ashamed of my arms that my whole life revolves around hiding them. I often pass out on hot days because i get so hot in long sleeves. I never feel confident in what im wearing and constantly worry about them being seen. I even had to wear ugly long gloves when i got married that i hated and it ruined my wedding day. The nhs will not fund any treatments and will only provide make up but it does not work at all for the type of scarring i have or the area they are on and it can actually make it look worse. I have looked into so many treatments but they all cost hundreds or thousands of pounds that i cant afford. My advice to any one who feels like self harming is to remember that the scars last alot longer than the feelings that cause them. It is literally ruining my life.





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I used to self-harm, but have not for many months now. My mom doesn't believe that I have stopped though. She thinks I am still self-harming and is on the verge of forcing me to show her my upper thighs to prove there are only old scars there and no new ones. Is this legal? Can she really force me to show her my body?





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She is your mother and she is concerned for your health. If it makes her feel comfortable, show her. But if you're really uncomfortable with doing it, don't do it. Sit your mother down and have a chat, maybe you can work something out or convince her that you have stopped.

No one can make you show your body if you don't want to. No one. Unless there is a legal reason to-say police are strip searching you for drugs. But really she cannot force you. Have a chat with her and say that it is really important for her to trust you and if she is still concerned agree to a talking treatment, showing your legs to a doctor without her present so they can check or something you are more comfortable with. Make sure she knows her invasive behaviour does not help SH'ers anyway. Maybe print her some leaflets so she is more understanding. But no she cannot legally force you.

My best friend self harms because of issues that are happening at home, I want her to stop but obviously its really hard to do that, she doesnt want to get help, but she has been seing a counsellor at school but she isnt helping her, im really worried.





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There is always another source of help, depending on your various locations, That has helped me, I could give you more information, depending on your area. What area are from?

Reply to recovered Luton, do you know where that is?

I'm 15, and I've been self harming since I was 13. I've been hospitalized 3 times, and both my arms and my neck are absolutely awful. There is no skin on my arms that isn't scarred. In summer I always have to wear long sleeves. Its horrible. I have depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. It really annoys me how people do it for attention. You dont do that.





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I am genuinely sick of people saying don't do it for attention. Hurting oneself with the end goal of attention is a problem within itself and is likely related to a mental illness like Münchhausen Syndrome or a personality disorder. Just because your SH is not caused by that particular type of mental illness does not give you the right to judge others and they have as much right to treatment, respect and help as everyone else. Self harming for attention is a problem within itself as it suggests they need another's concern and care to feel okay. That is something that needs treatment, not scoffing at.





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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