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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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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.

My best friend is threatening to self harm right now after she just did it on Saturday and Sunday, what do i say or do I want to call a child help line to ask questions about it but i do t know any and we are both only 14 years old please someone help me!!!





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Maybe you could call childline on 0800 1111 (Uk) or visit their website for more info about self harm. Is there a way you can get her to talk to a councilor or even her GP? If you tell a doctor and you're under 16 they legally have to tell your parents or your guardian. Be normal towards her and be supportive because self harm is really hard to control. Also self harming is a coping method and NOT for attention. Source: Personal experience of self harm :(

You could call childline on 0800 1111 or use the 1-2-1 service online ], they also have message boards where loads of people put advice!I started self harming when I was 14 and when an (now ex)friend found out she accused me of being attention seeking and spread rumors about it. Considering the low place I was already i this was not what I needed!! Don't act weird around her and be wary of telling adults because her parents will inevitably get involved. Although if it gets really serious you may have to.

Would you please consider removing the picture associated with this article? I understand that people shouldn't feel ashamed of their self harm but I worry that it will cause people to compare the amount and severity of their self harm which is obviously unhelpful. Anyone who self harms deserves care and understanding and the level of physical damage is not an indicator of the level of emotional pain someone might be experiencing. I write this as a 27 year old who's self harmed since the age of 15 and know, looking back, how impressionable I was then.





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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

Bio Oil is really god for reducing the appearance of scars in the long term, it's like a ointment type thing and you just dab it on twice a day and it's worked pretty well for me :) It's quite expensive but I think it was on offer in boots or somewhere quite recently so check it out! In the short term, a good waterproof concealer might work, but this isn't really an option for fresh cuts (obviously). I've read that the Red Cross offer a 'skin camouflage' clinic where they show you how to use special make up that's brilliant at hiding scars - which you can then get prescribed through your doctor and as you're under eighteen I think you'd get it free! I believe that doctors can keep things like self harm confidential as long as you're not an immediate risk to yourself (that's what I think but I might be wrong), so it's worth asking them about the Red Cross thing, and they might be able to refer you to further treatment for your self harm. It helps to write down what you want to say before hand in case you find it hard to actually talk about. This is the actual Red Cross article about it: http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/Health-and-social-care/Independent-living/Skin-camouflage And this is a article (with a video but it shows someone's scars so there's a bit of a trigger warning) which might also be helpful: http://programmes.stv.tv/the-hour/health-fitness/family/118673-red-cross-launch-skin-camouflage-project/





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