Self-harm, children and young people

Updated: 03/11/16

Self-harm | Childline

Why people self-harm

There are lots of reasons why people self-harm. It could be because of feelings or thoughts that are difficult to deal with.

Some people self-harm because it feels like a way to release tension. It’s a physical pain you can deal with, rather than a feeling or emotion that can be hard to cope with.

Self-harm can also be used as a way of punishing yourself for something you feel bad about.

Sometimes people self-harm because they feel alone, angry or not good enough. Self-harm can be really personal and complicated, so it’s okay if you don’t know the reasons behind self-harm.

Some young people start self-harming after a stressful event, like being bullied our abused. It could also be a reaction to something like pressure to do well at school. It’s not always a really big thing that leads to self-harm. You might not even be sure why it started.

Getting help

There are lots of sources for help. If you can, speak to your parents about it. Otherwise, choose another trusted adult. School staff should be a good way to start – the pastoral team or the school nurse will be able to access help for you, they can access the same services as your G.P. can. They will also be able to provide you with some information about how to look after yourself when self-harming.

If you need urgent medical help, you may need to attend the A&E department of your local hospital.

If you are worried about a friend, please also speak to a trusted adult, this could be someone at school, you can also call childline for some advice.

Worried about self-harm

– please download leaflet from young minds for further information