Self-Harm Prevention

Struggling to deal with how you are feeling? We want to support you to develop coping strategies and self-care strategies that offer long-term and effective relief from how you are feeling!

Understanding your triggers

Sometimes when things happen in our lives we may become overwhelmed with how we are feeling.  In response to such triggers/feelings you may feel that self-harm is the only way to cope. However, self-harm only offers short-term relief and the underlying issue to why you may be self-harming is still there! If you self-harm, it is usually as a result of another problem. It can happen if you are feeling anxious, depressed, stressed, you are grieving, something has happened to you in the past or if you are being bullied. You may feel that you don’t have any other way of dealing with these issues. It is really important that you try to work out how you are feeling and the reasons why as if you can get help to address this underlying reason then it may reduce your likelihood of wanting to self-harm.

Often self-harming brings only temporary relief. It can be upsetting when you think that self-harm is the only way you can cope, but there are other healthy ways you can cope.(Young Minds)


Alternative Coping Strategies

Physical actions and distractions: When you have the urge to self-harm there are many things that you can do to manage and distract yourself from these urges.

  • Crushing ice-cubes
  • Wearing an elastic band and pinging it when your urges start.
  • Cold shower
  • Draw on yourself with pen instead of cutting
  • Relaxation breathing: lie in a comfortable position and breathe in – then breathe out slowly, making your out-breath longer than your in-breath. Repeat until you feel more relaxed.
  • Call/text/meet a person that you care about
  • Go for a walk/run
  • Write down how you are feeling and rip it up into many pieces.
  • Watch a Film/ TV/Netflix
  • Talk to someone about how you are feeling (trusted adult or online support service e.g. Kooth)
  • Delay techniques: Trying to put off for five minutes, then six minutes and then seven minutes etc when you feel the urge to self-harm. Try putting any items that you would self-harm with in a difficult to access location or in a box with tape around it, giving you time to think about whether it’s something you really want to do.


Comfort yourself

  • Take a hot bath
  • Try relaxation and mindfulness videos
  • Have a warm drink
  • Wrap yourself in a blanket
  • Massage the places that you want to self-harm.
  • Paint your nails, try a new hairstyle or make-up tutorial


Accessing further help and support

Self-harm can be difficult to talk about but it’s a common problem and you can beat it! Take that first step and speak to someone – a parent or relative you trust, perhaps a teacher or youth worker. If you don’t think you can confide in anyone, talk to your GP. There are also other ways that you can access support. Accessing online support might just make it easier for you to open up:

Chat Health: School nurse support – Text: 07507330205

Kooth : Online counselling support

Young Minds Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis. Text: YM to 85258

Self-Injury Support web chat (for females)  is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7pm to 9.30pm

CALM webchat (for males) is open from 5pm to midnight every day.

Calm Harm App: A free app providing support and strategies to help you resist or manage the urge to self-harm.