General Article Self-harm

Topic Selected: Self-harm and Suicide
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The article looks at the different sorts of self-harm and why someone might do it. It discusses:

  • some of the help available
  • what you can do to help yourself
  • what friends or family can do to help.

What is self-harm?

Self-harm happens when you hurt or harm yourself. You may:

  • take too many tablets – an overdose
  • cut yourself
  • burn yourself
  • bang your head or throw yourself against something hard
  • punch yourself
  • stick things in your body
  • swallow things.

It can feel to other people that these things are done calmly and deliberately – almost cynically. But we know that someone who self-harms is usually in a state of high emotion, distress and unbearable inner turmoil. Some people plan it in advance; for others, it happens on the spur of the moment. Some people self-harm only once or twice, but others do it regularly – it can be hard to stop.

Some of us harm ourselves in less obvious, but still serious, ways. We may behave in ways that suggest we don’t care whether we liv...

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