Self harm

We all self harm, although not necessarily directly or on purpose. We often treat our bodies badly, or don’t give ourselves what we need. Sometimes it can be to cover up or cope with how we feel – stress, loneliness, fear, pain or feeling unloved.

The term ‘self harm’ is used to describe many different acts – cutting or picking at the skin, taking pills, burning or harming the body in some other way. It can include eating disorders and addiction. Self harm is not about ‘attention seeking’, and it is not the same as trying to kill yourself. It is a way of dealing with difficult feelings inside. It can be about having control over something in your life. It can also be a way of saying “I need some help”.

If you or someone you know self harms and you want to talk to someone about it, talk to your doctor or contact Young People’s Services at Clarence Street, who run a counselling service for young people 16-25 or at one of the organisations mentioned here. There is also: offers a safe space online to talk, ask questions and be honest about life and self harming. They provide information and resources as well as running ‘Alumina’. Alumina Live is a small online group aimed at young people 14-18 and runs over 6 weeks at a regular time each week. It looks at reasons for self harming, control, alternatives to self harming and future choices etc. Alumina on Demand is a video based course and you can work through this at your own pace and at a time that suits you.