Self harm

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Self-harm is when people hurt themselves or damage their health on purpose. Sometimes people do this in secret. There are lots of different reasons why someone might self-harm, but there are also different ways to cope and get help.


TRIGGER WARNING: This page contains information about self-harm which may bring up difficult feelings.


Why do people self-harm?

There are lots of reasons why young people might self-harm. The need to hurt yourself usually comes from emotions that are very difficult to cope with.


Young people might self-harm because it’s a way of releasing tension or controlling something. It’s a physical pain that you can deal with, rather than an emotional feeling that you might find hard to cope with. Self-harm can also be used as a form of self-punishment for something you feel bad about.  Feeling alone, angry, experiencing low self-esteem and not feeling good enough can also lead to self-harming. The reasons for self-harming can be very personal so it’s okay if you don’t know why you self-harm. Whatever you are going through, Childline is here for you. You don’t have to deal with things on your own and there are other ways of expressing your emotions. Check out our self-harm coping techniques.