Self-harm is when you deliberately injure or damage your body, usually to help you cope with or express difficult thoughts and feelings. It can offer some temporary relief from emotional pain, but it does not solve the underlying problem causing this pain. 

Self-harm behaviours include: 

  • self-cutting 
  • burning 
  • overdosing on medication or recreational drugs 
  • hitting or bruising 

The reasons why you might self-harm can vary and may differ every time you do it. Self-harm does not necessarily mean you want to die, but there is a high risk of accidental death. 

Reasons why you might self-harm include: 

  • managing emotional upset 
  • regaining control over feelings or problems 
  • peer pressure – wanting to identify with a particular group of people 
  • wanting to find ways to escape a difficult situation 
  • reducing tension  

When you self-harm, it is very common for you to experience shame, guilt and fear of judgement which can make it difficult to talk to someone about the problem; however, talking with someone is an important step towards breaking the cycle and starting the journey to recovery.