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Self-harm is difficult to talk about but it's a common problem and you can beat it. Find out what self-harm means and what to do if you're affected by it.


What is self-harm?

Self-harm is when you hurt yourself on purpose. You usually do it because something else feels wrong. It seems like the only way to let those feelings out.

It is a very common behaviour and affects around 1 in 12 people with 10% of 15-16 year olds self-harming.

If you self-harm it is usually as a result of another problem. If can happen if you are feeling anxious, depressed, stressed or bullied and feel you don't have any other way of dealing with these issues.

Sometimes it feels like no one understands why you self-harm but lots more people today know about what the condition really means.


What to do about self-harm?

Take the first step - If you think you're affected by self-harm talk to someone, a parent, guardian or relative you trust, perhaps a teacher or youth worker? If you don't feel as though you can confide in anyone, talk to your GP. 

If you live in Hampshire or on the Isle of Wight, the NHS 111 mental health triage service can provides advice, support and guidance, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Mental Health Triage Team has a wide range of skills, including on the phone brief psychological support and has access to key services and organisations that can offer mental health support to you in your time of need. Just dial 111 or online at

Why talk to a professional? Self-harm can be a sign of other disorders that you need help with such as depression or anxiety and they can refer you to the right people for treatment. You may also be referred to Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) so that you can have an assessment for the right treatment for you.

Click here for a guide to CAMHS


Kooth is a free online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service offered to young people aged 11 - 25 years (up to their 26th birthday) living in Dorset, Hampshire and the IoW with a safe and secure means of accessing support with their emotional and mental health needs from a professional team of qualified counsellors.

By accessing Kooth young people can benefit from a free, confidential, anonymous and safe way to receive support online, online counselling from a professional team of BACP qualified counsellors is available via 1-1 chat sessions or messaging on a drop in basis or via booked sessions including out of hours’ availability - counsellors are available from 12pm to 10pm on weekdays and 6pm to 10pm at weekends, every day of the year on a drop in basis.

No referral is required, young people can access the service directly and in complete confidence at


Treating Injuries - You may well need treatment quickly for injuries from self-harming. Any injuries you have should be treated straight away and not left just because you hurt yourself.

Your GP may be able to treat the injuries themselves or may refer you to hospital where you will be treated by a doctor or nurse trained to work with children and young people who self-harm.

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