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Common reasons for self-harming

Self-harm is when someone does something to hurt themselves on purpose, like cutting, burning, taking pills, hitting or picking at oneself or using objects to hurt oneself.

Some common reasons people self-harm include:

  • Wanting to feel something/not feel numb
  • A release of emotional pain, anger or frustration
  • A way to punish oneself.
  • A way to be present with reality.
  • A way to distract oneself from thinking negative thoughts.

The not-so-good things about self-harming

  • Some methods of self-harm can prove to accidentally be fatal.
  • Scars and marks can stay on your body for a really long time.
  • Having to hide those marks from others or explain them to others.
  • Feeling shameful.
  • Keeping secrets from those you care about.
  • It can cause family and friends a lot of stress and worry.
  • It can lead to worse self-harming over time.
  • It can lead to people not wanting to be around you. 

What can I do to stop self-harming?

  • Find other ways to release the emotion and cope with stress. Check out our ‘Stress’ section here for some ideas.
  • Better understand your reasons and your triggers for self-harming. Keep a diary of what makes you feel like you want to, including events, thoughts and feelings you have. This will help you to avoid or deal with those triggers before you self-harm. Click here to check out the ‘Depression’ section or the here for the ‘Anger’ section to help understand your reasons for self-harming.
  • Talk to someone you trust about what is going on. Talking can be a great release for painful feelings and can make us feel safer. If it’s too hard or shameful to tell someone in your life, or you want to get an outside perspective, think about chatting to a professional, like a counsellor. Counsellors deal with self-harm often and can help you brainstorm ways to make things more manageable. Click here to find out more.
  • Create a safety plan for yourself. Check a step-by-step guide to creating your own safety plan under the 'Suicide' section. 

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