Self-harm can be a one-off event or become a repeated behaviour that can be hard to change. At Lifeline we are here for you with respect and without judgment.
Self-harm is any behaviour that involves the deliberate causing of pain or injury to oneself. Self-harm can include behaviours such as cutting, burning, biting or scratching the skin, pulling out hair, hitting oneself, or repeatedly putting oneself in dangerous situations. It can also involve abuse of drugs or alcohol, including overdosing on prescription medications.
Self-harm is often used as a way to respond to and manage emotional pain, overwhelming feelings or distress. For the most part, people self-harm without wanting to die but sometimes they may have suicidal intentions. Some people find that the physical pain of self-harm helps provide temporary relief from the emotional pain. In this way, self-harm can be a coping strategy used by individuals to help them continue to live.
For those people who self-harm with no intention of dying, the risk of accidental death is very real. Additionally, if self-harm does not relieve the tension or help control emotional pain, the person may injure themselves more severely, or may start to believe they can no longer control their pain and consider suicide.
There are various reasons people may engage in self-harming behaviours, such as:
The consequences of self-harming behaviour can be fatal, and it needs careful assessment and care by a health professional.
It can be hard for people who self-harm to stop it by themselves. That’s why it’s important to get further help if needed; however, the ideas below may be helpful:
You may find that some of these strategies work in some situations but not others, or you may find that you need to use a combination of these. It is important to find what works for you. Also, remember that these are not long-term solutions to self-harm but rather, useful short-term alternatives for relieving distress.
Understand your self-harm
The more you understand your self-harm, the better equipped you are to make different choices. You may want to write down what happens before and after you self-harm. This can help you to:
It can be difficult to know what to do and how to cope, but help is available. Below are some places to go for information and support. If life is in danger, please call 000.
If you are in danger call 000