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Health and wellbeing

Self harm awareness

Self harm is when someone deliberately hurts themselves. It can include cutting, burning, hitting or bruising, poisoning, scratching, hair-pulling or overdosing.

Adults who self harm aren’t usually trying to commit suicide or looking for attention (although self harming can result in accidental death). Often, it is a way for the person to deal with overwhelming or distressing feelings and emotions. It’s a way of coping.

Some people use self harm as a way to cope with anxiety, stress and overwhelming emotions. It is often a sign that there is an underlying problem.

Self harm can be really hard to understand but it is a lot more common than some people think.

The best thing to do is for the person to get help to deal with the underlying issues. Getting the right help is often the key to overcoming or managing self harm.

Getting help


A provider of advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

0300 123 3393


User-led organisation for people who self-harm, and their friends and families.

The Mix

Helpline and online support for people aged 16–25.

0808 808 4994