Self harm is often a way of dealing with deep emotional pain and distress. It’s a way of distracting yourself from emotional pain by causing physical pain, but then when the pain goes away and you can feel your emotions again you may feel the urge to do it again.

Self harm may include:

  • Cutting
  • Burning or scalding
  • Hitting yourself
  • Punching other things
  • Sticking objects into your skin
  • Intentionally opening old wounds
  • Overdosing
  • Swallowing objects

Hot to cope with these feelings

1. Talk to someone
Share how you feel with someone you trust, a friend, a family member, a teacher, a youth worker, your GP, a counsellor, call a helpline. Contact your crisis team if you have one. If at first someone doesn’t understand, try someone else. Talking can make you feel much better, like a weight has been lifted, and release that negativity bringing you down.

2. Identify your triggers
Understand what things happen to make you feel the intense emotions leading up to self harming is an important factor in then being able to cope with them. What feelings make you want to self harm? And what situations may cause those feelings? And soon we can build a plan to deal with these issues.

3. Finding new ways to cope:
Get arty: Painting, drawing, scribbling on a pieve of paper and even drawing on your skin where you would normally self harm.
Journal: write down your feelings in a journal, an online blog, write letters and rip them up.
Music: Listen to music, play an instrument!
Writing: write a poem, a short story, or write down your emotions and rip them up
Exercise, to get out those angry emotions
Have a hot bath to relax.
If your feeling numb hold ice cubes or put your hand under the cold water tap.
Go online and have a chat, in chit chat.


Samaritans – for everyone
Call 116 123

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day
Visit the webchat page

Papyrus – for people under 35
Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 9am to 10pm, weekends and bank holidays 2pm to 10pm
Text 07860 039967

Childline – for children and young people under 19
Call 0800 1111 – the number will not show up on your phone bill