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Changing Lives | Creating Futures
Self Harm
"When somebody intentionally damages or injures
their body. It is usually a way of coping with or
expressing overwhelming emotion or distress".
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There are many ways that young people self-harm. It is a myth that self-harm is just CUTTING, although this is more common in females. Lots of young men will punch walls and damage their hands and knuckles, (although lots of males do not recognize this as self-injury).

Other common behaviours can be:

  • IMPACT WITH ONESELF; Banging or punching oneself to induce bruising and bleeding
  • RIPPING SKIN; Ripping or tearing skin, (this can include excessive nail and cuticle biting)
  • CARVING; This is different to just cutting – A person carves words or symbols into their skin
  • INTERFERING WITH HEALING; purposely hampering with healing wounds and is often in combination with other self- harming behaviours
  • BURNING; burning skin in different ways to cause self-injury
  • RUBBING; Rubbing sharp objects into skin – such as shards of glass
  • HAIR PULLING; known as trichotillomania – pulling hair out is a form of self-harm and sometimes it is ingested
  • ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE; by ingesting large quantities of these substances you are causing harm to your body

Sometimes it can be difficult to know if a young person is self-harming. They find it difficult to talk about and often cover their bodies up, even in hot weather.

For many years’ Service Six has worked with young self-harmers. We have an award winning programme called OPAL, which supports young people who are self-harming or know of friends or family that do.

For more support and information, you can download Service Six’s self-help journal and our Information Pack for Parents.

To refer to our services contact our Service Hub team on 01933 277520 email

Other Useful Contacts

Young Minds - helpline 0808 802 5544 available weekdays between 9.30 am till 4 pm

Harmless - email - Dedicated to self-harm recovery, insight and support

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Self Harm

1 out of 12 children and young people will experience self-harm, either supporting a friend or inflicting it upon themselves