Self harm is becoming increasingly common in the UK and it is estimated that 1 in 10 young people engage in self-harm. However, self-harming behaviours can be found in people of all ages and in both males and females. However, it is more common for women to self-harm when compared with men.


What is self-harm?


Self-harm is not so much a deliberate attempt to hurt or harm oneself, but more an attempt to feel better in times of emotional distress and pain. There are many ways in which people achieve this, the common self-harming acts include cutting or burning the skin, pulling hair out, binge drinking, having unsafe sex, not eating or excessive drug taking.


Usually, people self-harm when they are experiencing high levels of emotion and distress. The act of self-harm is often an attempt to alleviate this emotional distress, often believing that this is only thing they can do to escape their pain at that time.


The act of self-harm can happen as a result of one dealing with stressful, traumatic or painful experience, though sometimes people are unaware of what triggers this way of coping and have no idea as to why they turn to this kind of behaviour. Sometimes people may take time to plan their self-harm, whilst others will act on the spur of the moment.


Self-harm is a very personal and private act of coping with life and is different for every person. It is often done in secret and can trigger feelings of guilt, anger, regret and shame after the act; it is common for people who have self-harmed to fear being judged by those around them.


How can counselling help?


The underlying reasons for self-harm can be complex and often difficult to understand for everyone involved. Our counsellors are committed to offering a space for you to share your feelings and experiences without judgement. They will help you explore the underlying reasons as to why you self-harm and explore healthier ways which might help you express your feelings and deal with difficult experiences and emotions.