Self-harm is a way of expressing deep distress and some people can't fully explain why they do it. Often it’s a way of expressing what cannot be put into words. Afterwards people can feel pressure has been released and they are better able to cope, although this may only last for a short while before they feel the need to self-harm again.

It can often be the result of difficult or painful experiences as a child or young adult. Perhaps, at the time, they felt they had no one to talk too, or to help them deal with things.

Research suggests that people who self-harm are more likely to have low self-esteem, be anxious, stressed and/ or depressed.

Self-harm can take many forms including:

  • scratching, cutting and burning the skin
  • swallowing things or putting things inside the body
  • taking unnecessary risks such as staying in an abusive relationship
  • poisoning
  • eating disorders, including severe weight loss
  • alcohol/drug misuse
  • punching the body

 There is more information on self-harm on the following websites: