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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.

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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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

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





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