Click here or press the Escape key to leave this site now
Helpline 01738 630965
Office 01738 626290

Self-harm and/or injury

What self-harm/injury is

There is a wide range of self-harming behaviours including; cutting, bruising, scrubbing, hair plucking, picking, drug use and/or misuse, eating problems such as anorexia, bulimia, unsafe sexual practices, self-isolation, running away. These behaviours may or may not cause actual visible injury to an individual but do cause harm. There are can also be more serious injuries inflicted, the breaking of bones for example.

Why do people self-harm?

People self-harm for a range of reasons. We know that individuals who have experienced abuse and trauma may well self-harm to try and cope. There are links with stress, homelessness, neglect, experiencing bullying, physical abuse, emotional abuse, loss of a parent through death or divorce, infertility and more. We also know that LGBTI individuals are more likely to self-harm than others (1)

Overall self-harming behaviour tends to be about an individual trying to cope with overwhelming emotions. Other reasons for self-harming that we know about include; It can help someone to show the emotional pain they are experiencing, for them to reconnect and feel alive, to displace emotional pain to the physical pain, to stop a dissociative response, to release endorphins, to express self-hate.

What self/harm injury is not

Self-harm/Injury is often seen as attention seeking and should be stopped. However often the attention those who self-harm receive is negative. People are often told that they should stop what they are doing and look after themselves. It is not as easy as this. If someone is trying to cope with overwhelming feelings and has no other way in doing so then to just stop self-harming is not helpful.

It is not a failed suicide attempt, many people who have talked about the reasons for their self-harm will speak about how this helps them stay alive and manage.

How can I stop? How can I help someone stop?

Many people do manage, with the right support, to stop self-harming. It can be helpful to explore with an appropriate support worker what is going on for you in your life and the reasons for your self-harm.

There are some useful sites that also provide resources that are free that may help; Self-Injury Support's Resource Hub has a section on self-help ideas. This includes a worksheet on reducing your self-harm and why do I self-harm?

We recognise that you may find it difficult to speak about your self-harm, you may feel ashamed, judge yourself or perhaps you have tried to speak to someone in the past and had an unhelpful response. If you are a survivor it may be helpful to know that all our support workers have received training on self-harm/injury. We also have resources available here that your support worker could work through with you.

The website also has a section for supporting a family member or friend which includes the THRIVE Self-harm Resource pack. This has a good section on potential alternatives to self-harm.

It is important to not judge someone for their self-harm, don't pressurise them into stopping, the goal here is not to stop the self-harm/injury. It can be more helpful to help them build a support network or perhaps you can look at some of the resources available that may enable them to make sense of their self-harm. Let them know that you care, many people feel ashamed about their self-harming behaviour. If you don't feel able to support them seek support for yourself, perhaps help them access an appropriate service if that is something that they are ready for.

If you are the parent, partner or friend of a survivor then we can offer you some support details about how to contact us can be found on our contact page

Safety and self-harm

If you do self-harm then it can be useful to consider some of the following self-care for self-harm;

  • Have a well-stocked first aid kit, antiseptic wipes, paper stitches, plasters and/or burn cream and dressings.
  • If you can avoid self-harming when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or whilst having a flashback.
  • If you use razor blades make sure that they are clean
  • Clean any wounds afterwards.
  • Seek medical treatment if; you can't stop the bleeding, the cut is long and deep (you can see ligaments, vessels etc.); you experience numbness of tingling near a cut or if there is something stuck in the wound.
  • If you have burnt yourself run the burn for at least 20 minutes under cold water. Don't use ice or creams. Remove any clothing or jewellery near the burn area, do not remove anything that is stuck.
  • To cover a burn it is better to use cling film or a clean plastic bag,
  • If you are concerned about your injury please do note hesitate to contact medical services.
  • It is recommended that you get medical attention for all chemical and electrical burns, any burn bigger than your hand, any burn that has caused white or charred skin and burns on your face, hands, arms, feet or genitals that cause blisters.
  • You deserve to receive proper medical attention for your self-harm/injury.

Useful links

A useful booklet produced by Rape Crisis Scotland can be found here Information for survivors of sexual violence - Self-harm

A useful website for young people is Heads Above the Waves. There is a young person's blog, ideas for things to try and information.

Self-harm UK have a website that has information for parents and Young people.

There is a lot of useful information and free publications and resources on the Self-injury Support website

References

(1) Stonewall (2008) Prescription for Change

https://www.stonewall.org.uk/resources/prescription-change-2008

Comments: 0 (Add)

CAPTCHA image
Change image

Related downloads

RASAC Referral Form 2019

RASAC Referral Form 2019

If you are looking to refer any young person (12+) or adult woman to RASAC for Support please ensure you fill in all relevant sections of our referral form and entire that the individual you are referring signs the form. We aim to offer an initial appointment to the individual within two to three weeks. Alternatively we have a women's drop in every Tuesday between 12pm and 2pm at our premises at 16 King Street, Perth

Twitter

  • ViceVersaWRASAC profile imageHere is the link to all the activities leading up the Reclaim the Night March and 16 Days. Lots of craftism to take part in as a group, on your own or online. dvawp.co.uk/news/16-days…
    rasacpk profile imagePreparations for Dundee’s response to one of the world’s biggest campaigns on preventing violence against women and children are in full swing, with people from all walks of life being encouraged to take part bit.ly/3p9phLq Twitter embedded image 1 month ago
    1 month ago by ViceVersaWRASAC
  • Chloe_Whyte profile imageSpiking cases: a quick🧵 Anyone can be a victim of spiking, regardless of gender/age/how much alcohol (if any!) you drink. The blame & responsibility lies SOLELY with the perpetrators, however with the rise in cases, here's a quick thread if you're worried about someone 👇 Twitter embedded image 1 month ago by Chloe_Whyte
  • EngenderScot profile image📢 Booking is now open for Engender’s Annual General Meeting 2021, which will take place online, on Saturday 13th November at 10.30am. You can find out more and book your place here ⬇️ engender.org.uk/content/… Twitter embedded image 1 month ago by EngenderScot
  • rapecrisisscot profile imageThanks to everyone who has completed our stealthing survey, we've had a great response so far. If you haven't had a chance to complete it, there's still time! Survey closes Friday, click here to take part 👇 surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3FD… Twitter embedded image 1 month ago by rapecrisisscot
  • EngenderScot profile image📣 There is still time to share your experiences & help us find effective solutions for tackling workplace sexual harassment in our anonymous survey, which closes tomorrow at midnight, on Friday 22nd Oct. Thank you for all your responses so far ⬇️ surveymonkey.co.uk/r/sex… Twitter embedded image 1 month ago by EngenderScot
  • rapecrisisscot profile imageICYMI: Our stealthing survey is still open! 📢 It takes a few minutes to complete and helps us find out more about the impact of non-consensual condom removal (stealthing). If you live in Scotland, we’re keen to hear from you! Click here to complete 👇 surveymonkey.co.uk/r/3FD… Twitter embedded image 1 month ago by rapecrisisscot
  • ViceVersaWRASAC profile imageReclaim The Night March - Dundee 2021 Thursday 25th November More details: facebook.com/events/3872… Twitter embedded image 1 month ago by ViceVersaWRASAC
  • davechannel profile imageIn this week’s #LateNightMash @rachelparris looks at misogyny and male violence in the uk.
    1 month ago by davechannel
  • PKAVSTamponTaxi profile imageAdded your advice to our wee survey yet? Take 2 minutes today to help us improve the future of Period Edication!
    rasacpk profile imageWhat do you wish you'd known about periods as a young person? Our student Nicole and volunteer @eilidhgraham4 want to know! Help us develop our Tampon Taxi Takeout materials for young people by answering 3 short questions- it'll only take a minute! forms.office.com/r/Ctztg… Twitter embedded image 2 months ago
    1 month ago by PKAVSTamponTaxi
  • rapecrisisscot profile imageGreat to see a campaign from @PoliceScotland about sexual violence that puts the focus on the only people responsible: the perpetrators. Safety advice aimed at women won’t stop sexual violence, but changing men’s attitudes and behaviours can, so #DontBeThatGuy
    rasacpk profile imageMost guys don’t look in the mirror & see a problem. But it’s staring us in the face. Sexual violence begins long before you think it does. #DontBeThatGuy
    1 month ago
    1 month ago by rapecrisisscot
Loading