Self Harm

Self Harming


WHAT is Self-Harm?

In its broadest sense, self-harm is any act carried out which causes harm to the “self”.
Self-harm is any behavior that results in physical harm, causing injuries or pain to your own body. It is not linked with suicidal intent.
This behaviour is usually carried out in a deliberate and often hidden way.

How do people Self-Harm?

People self-harm in a variety of ways and sometimes do not even recognise they are doing harm to themselves.
  • Alcohol misuse/ binge drinking.
  • Body hitting/ knocking/ punching.
  • Cutting.
  • Driving fast/ recklessly.
  • Drug misuse: illicit or prescription.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Overdoses.
  • Over exercising.
  • Pulling hair out.
  • Risky sexual behaviour.
  • Self neglect.
  • Skin burning/ picking.
  • Throwing themselves down stairs.
Note: This is not a fully comprehensive list, can you think of other ways?

WHO Self-Harms?

People from all walks of life self-harm, regardless of:
  • Gender.
  • Ethnicity.
  • Ability / Disability.
  • Education.
  • Sexuality.
  • Age.
  • Religion
  • Background.
  • Social Class.
One in 10 young people across the UK have self-harmed by the age of 16. It is thought to be the second highest reason for A & E admissions.
It`s hard to get precise figures on self-harm as definitions tend to differ. Also, the level of taboo around the subject is so high that most people keep it concealed and this naturally omits them for research.

Why do people Self-Harm?

  • Its easier to cope with a physical pain than their emotional discomfort, i.e as a coping mechanism.
  • To release unbearable feelings of anxiety grief and / or anger.
  • They need to relieve feelings of shame or guilt.
  • They are trying to tell others they need help.
  • They need to have control over something in their life.
  • They want to feel alive.
  • They are feeling confused and overwhelmed.

Why do people Self-Harm?

Research suggests there`s a wide range of contributory factors that can trigger self-harm. The individual who self-harms has usually faced some very difficult and harmful events in their life, often as a child but occasionally as an adult. Examples of situations that may be behind it:
  • Alcohol and drug misuse.
  • Bullying.
  • Childhood neglect.
  • Discrimination.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Emotional abuse.
  • Family issues.
  • Faulty self-beliefs.
  • Low self esteem.
  • Physical abuse.
  • Self-hatred.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Sexuality concerns.
Note: This is not a fully comprehensive list, there can be many other things behind it.

Move Forward

Self-harm is often used as a coping strategy so stopping or reducing is not a short-term solution. Therefore new coping strategies need to be learned to provide individuals with healthier ways ahead. SAFA offers a complete package tailored to individual needs.
Referral Forms

To access SAFA counselling services
a referral form is required.

Self Referral

If you are a individual whom needs to self-refer, follow this link to take you to the referral process.

Professional Referral

If you are a professional practice and have a client to refer, follow this link to the referral process.
If you need to use our counselling services please fill out a Self Referral Form. If a Doctor or Profesional organisation is involved they can use the Profesional Refarral Form.
After filling out the referral you will initially be contacted by one of our trained counsellors via email. If you prefer to be contacted another way please specify on the form.
Each counselling session has a full cost of £85. We are inviting contributions of £35 per session payable at the beginning of each session which will reduce your waiting list time. If you tick yes we will be in contact with further information. Otherwise you will be added to the normal SAFA waiting list.
For any queries please contact us by clicking the link below.


What age of people do SAFA support?

We work with clients aged 11+. There is no upper age limit.

Do you have support for drug and alcohol abuse?

Where can I get face to face support?

We offer counselling in Barrow in Furness, Kendal and several other locations around the county.

Where to get help?

The first place to start is your GP. We recognize that it takes courage to speak openly about your worries and concerns, perhaps take a family member or a trusted friend along for support.

Talking to your Doctor

This can feel incredibly overwhelming and makes the way you are feeling very real, often when we are in the grips of an Eating Disorder we are in denial that there is a problem.
It’s everyone around us who doesn’t like it or is jealous of you being thin. When we are able to move out of denial we can see that we have a problem which needs help. Often we feel weak for asking for help but in fact it’s a strength.

Are SAFA counsellors qualified?

All of our counsellors are registered with the BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy).

Do you provide support and treatment for Eating Disorders?

The sooner someone is treated for an Eating Disorder, the better the chance of making a full recovery. We know that gaining access to treatment isn’t always as straight forward as we would like it to be.
SAFA is not a crisis service which can also be very frustrating for you. Because it takes courage to ask for help. What SAFA does offer is a professional 1:1 counselling to work with the core issues which are affecting you.
Concerned about
a child? Freephone

Childline 0800 111

Self-Harm awareness for all.

"SAFA is commited to making a possitive difference to the lives of individuals who self harm and to those who support them”

SAFA is also committed to providing safe, ethical and professional counselling/psychotherapy services. We also offer professional training courses tailored to both individuals and organisational need.
Working in partnership with:

Cumbria Youth Alliance

Providing infrastructure support for organisations working with children, young people and families..

Morecambe Bay CCG

Clinincal Commissioning Group.
Useful contacts

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