No Harm Done: Things Can Change

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Help for young people worried about self-harm

A message of hope

From Lucy, aged 18

What brings you here? Are you self-harming, or have you ever thought about it?

Maybe you have a friend who is hurting themselves? Perhaps you just want to know more.

Whatever your reason, I want to share this message with you: things can change.

Self-harm can be scary and isolating, and it often feels like there is no way out. I should know: I’ve been there.

I got involved with the #NoHarmDone project alongside other young people who have ‘been there’ with self-harm. Our aim is to reassure those affected by self-harm that things can and do improve. Sure, it can be hard work (and it may feel worse before it gets better) but coming out of the other side is so worth it.

YOU are so worth it.

There are people that care about you. They can help you to get to where you want to be. Things CAN change.

Girl holding camera
What is self-harm?

Self-harm is the intentional act of causing damage to your body, either through self-injury or poisoning. It can often be caused as a reaction to distressing or difficult feelings. Self-harm can include, but is not limited to, self-cutting, burning, taking an overdose and hitting or bruising. Self-harm is common in young people: at least 10% report having self-harmed.

Why do people self-harm?

There are lots of reasons why someone may choose to self-harm. It is different for each person. Some young people feel the need to self-harm to combat feelings of being overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, numb or disconnected from friends, family and society. Others say something in their environment makes them feel vulnerable. Everybody’s experience is different.

I’m self-harming. Is something wrong with me?

No, absolutely not. Self-harm is a lot more common than you may think, and it can affect anyone. You are not alone and help is available to you.

What can I do to stop self-harming?

Most young people find that it helps to be able to talk to someone they trust about what they’re going through. This could be a friend, family member, teacher, therapist or someone else: what’s important is that it’s someone you feel comfortable being open with.

Who can help me?

Parents, carers, family, friends, teachers, school nurses, doctors and youth nurses: anyone can support you, as long as they care about you.

Why do teachers have to tell someone else?

Teachers have a duty of care towards the young people in their classrooms and schools. Teachers also want the best for you and to ensure you get the help and support you need; sometimes that means telling someone else in the school or at home to protect you.

Five things to remember: some advice from other young people

Things can change

Nothing has to stay the same for you as it is right now. If there are things in your life that you wish would change, they can. Don’t give up.

There are choices and positive changes that will make life better, you just have to look for them and be open to doing things differently. If one thing doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying again. It just means there are other options that you haven’t yet explored.

You have the right to help

When you are self-harming it can be a really scary time. It’s an ‘in-the-moment’ coping mechanism, one that might make a small difference when you’re doing it but can very quickly lead to upsetting feelings and emotions. It can also leave you feeling incredibly lonely and like you can’t tell anyone.

Remember: you deserve to get better. This journey begins with speaking to someone and asking for help.

Be kind to yourself

Self-harming can be a vicious cycle: it can make you feel better for a short while but it never makes difficult emotions and harmful ‘noise’ go away. And sometimes, the loudest negative voice that we hear can be our own.

Look after yourself by taking things a day at a time. Make small goals and celebrate little wins. Be gentle and compassionate in how you speak to yourself; always asking: would I talk to a friend like this?

Spend time with others

Time spent in the company of people who care about you - especially friends and family - can make a big impact.

Try and seek out positive distractions and experiences to take your mind off how you are feeling. Look for opportunities to connect with others in a positive and caring environment.

Find someone you trust to talk to

The first step to feeling better is often the moment when you choose to share how you’re feeling with others. There’s a lot of stigma around self-harm, but there shouldn’t be.

Keeping these emotions to yourself, as a secret, won’t help: talking about self-harm is much more positive than actually doing it.

Finding help

There are many different ways to get help, places you can go and safe spaces in which you can feel comfortable. Ask for help, speak with professionals and listen to voices that you trust. Here are some recommended resources that you may find helpful:

 

YoungMinds: youngminds.org.uk

The Royal College of Psychiatrists: Self-harm information and support

Childline: childline.org.uk 0800 1111(free 24hr)

Self HarmUK: selfharm.co.uk

Self injury Support: selfinjurysupport.org.uk
Helpline: 0808 800 8088
(Tue & Wed 7-10pm, Thur 3-6pm & 7-10pm)
Text: 0780 047 2908 (Sun - Fri 7-9pm)

Harmless: harmless.org.uk
Email: info@harmless.org.uk

National Self Harm Network Forum: nshn.co.uk

Get Connected: getconnected.org.uk
Freephone: 0808 808 4994 (7 days a week, 1-11pm)

Samaritans: samaritans.org.uk
Helpline (24 hr): 116 123 Email: jo@samaritans.org

Youth Access: youthaccess.org.uk

If you have caused yourself serious bodily harm, or feel like you are going to, call or visit your local Accident and Emergency immediately.

#NoHarmDone

The #NoHarmDone project has been created in partnership with young people and produced by Young Minds, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Charlie Waller Trust.

Thank you to all the young people who generously gave their time and experiences to make ‘No Harm Done’ a reality.

Resources

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