- - Why people self-harm
- - Ways to help avoid self-harm
- - How to tell someone about self-harm
- - Assessment and treatments
- - How to help someone else
It's important to know that support is available for anyone who self-harms or thinks about self-harm, as well as their friends and family.
It's best to speak to a GP about self-harm, but you may also find it helpful to speak to a free listening service or support organisation.
If you need help now for a mental health crisis or emergency, read about where to get urgent help for mental health.
If you just need to talk, any time of day or night
Free listening services
These services offer confidential advice from trained volunteers. You can talk about anything that's troubling you, no matter how difficult:
- Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email: email@example.com for a reply within 24 hours
- Text "SHOUT" to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, or text "YM" if you're under 19
If you prefer a webchat, these services are available at certain times:
Speak to a GP if:
- you're harming yourself
- you're having thoughts about harming yourself
- you're worried about minor injuries, such as small cuts or burns – without treatment there is a risk of infection
Some people who self-harm are at a higher risk of suicide.
It's important to get support or treatment as soon as possible to help with the underlying cause and prevent suicidal thoughts developing.
How a GP can help with self-harm
A GP will listen and discuss the best options for you, which could include self-help or support groups. They can also give you advice and treatment for minor injuries.
They may ask you detailed questions to help them understand the cause of your self-harm. It's important to be honest with them, even if you do not know why you self-harm.
If needed, a GP may discuss referring you for an assessment with a local community mental health team (CMHT). An assessment will help your care team work out a treatment plan with you, such as a talking therapy, to help you manage your self-harm.
Read more about assessment and treatments for self-harm.
Further information and support
These organisations offer information and support for anyone who self-harms or thinks about self-harm, or their friends and family:
- Mind – call 0300 123 3393 or text 86463 (9am to 6pm on weekdays)
- Harmless – email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Self-injury Support (for women and girls)
- CALM (for men)
- YoungMinds Parents Helpline – call 0808 802 5544 (9.30am to 4pm on weekdays)
- National Self Harm Network forums
If you struggle with suicidal thoughts or are supporting someone else, the Staying Safe website provides information on how to make a safety plan. It includes video tutorials and online templates to guide you through the process.
You could also download the free distrACT app. This gives you easy, quick and discreet access to information and advice about self-harm and suicidal thoughts.