SAFA Online Support
Help for you to stop self-harming

When you decide it`s time to ge help, regonise you are not alone, lots of other individuals have also made the same choice.

Why do I self-harm?

Usually people self-harm because they have yet to discover other ways of expressing or coping with painful feelings. Self-harm is a way with coping with these difficult emotions.

Lots of people do not know why they self-harm, so it would be useful to record your thoughts in a journal so you can look back on them. You may also wish to share these thoughts with a counsellor.

As you ask yourself the following questions, think about the last time you self-harmed:

  • What was happening in your life when you first began to self-harm?
  • What happened just before you felt the need to self-harm?
  • Would it be useful to keep a mood diary (perhaps as part of your journal) that shows how what is happening influences your mood?
  • Where are you when you need to self-harm?
  • What thoughts are going on in your mind that lead to you feeling so overwhelmed?

Cycle of self-harm

cycle of self harm










In order to change, you will need to break the cycle by learning new coping strategies.

If you want to still hurt yourself

These are other distractions exercises you could try. These do not work for everyone but some might find them useful;

  • Use a punch bag or punching pillows.
  • Put your hands into a bowl of ice-cubes or rubbing them on the part of the body you want to self-injure (only do this for a short time, you don`t want to end up with frost bite!)
  • Put a rubber band around your wrist and flick it.
  • Put sticking plasters on the part you want to self-harm.

It is all about little steps. Take time out to acknowledge everyone of those little steps you take towards healing yourself.

What steps can I take to stop self harming?

One of the best ways to get help is to find someone you can talk to and trust.

You need to plan for the times you feel you are going to self-harm because when that time comes you cannot always think clearly. Make a list of things that you enjoy doing and that make you feel relaxed.

These may include:

  • Phoning or visiting a friend you can trust.
  • Playing or listening to music.
  • Writing your feelings down in a journal.
  • Counting down slowly from 10 to 0.
  • Drawing your emotions - they can be as abstract as you like.
  • Physical exercise - dancing, going for a walk, exercising.
  • Read.
  • Listening to relaxation tapes or doing deep breathing exercises.
  • Pamper yourself - have a relaxing bath, wash your hair, buy yourself something.
  • Focus on objects around you and thinking about what they look, sound, smell, taste and feel like.

Remember initially the aim is to delay when you are going to self-harm; at first maybe 5 minutes and building up from there as you begin using new strategies.

Talking it out

Talking it out helps to prevent the build up of tensions by regulary venting feelings and thoughts, e.g. regular counselling. Being listended to by someone who is NOT trying to change you but simply their to support you can help.

Who do I talk to?

  • Face to face with someone else (e.g. a counsellor).
  • On the phone to a trusted friend.
  • On the phone to another organisation who listend e.g. MIND, The Samaritans.

Your Questions are welcome!