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Self Harm

Kids at this age can struggle with big changes and lots of emotions. You can get support on some key issues here.

Self Harm

If you are self-harming or as a parent you think your child is self-harming or hurting themselves, it’s important to get support for your child and your family.

Young people may use self-harm as a way to cope with difficult emotions that they don’t know how to express. As a parent or carer, there are things you can do to help them work through their feelings and find other ways to cope.

If your child is in danger of immediate harm or their life may be at risk, call 999 or visit A&E.

Help For You and Your Child

Speak to a person you trust or someone independent about what’s happening. Encourage your child to talk to someone too. You can get support in the following ways:

  • Your GP, for local support.
  • Samaritans 24/7 listening service. Call 116 12.
  • Text “SHOUT” to 85258 for the Shout Crisis Text Line. Or under-19s can text “YM”.
  • Childline (if under 19) by phone on online chat. Call 0800 1111 between 9am – 3:30am or talk to a counsellor online 9am – 10:30pm.
  • Call a local NHS urgent mental health helpline.
  • Let your child’s school know that your child is struggling so they can offer support.
  • Look into support from your local NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
  • Kooth is here for you, please visit kooth.com for further support.

Supporting Your Child

Make sure your child knows you’re there for them, and they can talk to you about anything. Take some time to understand what they’re going through and why they might want to self-harm. Try to be non-judgemental about the self-harm. It may take some time for things to change, so it’s important to support your child during their journey even when things are difficult.

You can also:

  • If your child feels OK speaking about their feelings with you, ask a professional to help you create a ‘safety plan’. This can be a way for them to let you know how they want you to help when they feel an urge to self-harm. It’s also a good chance to talk about safety measures and getting medical help.
  • Put sharp or harmful objects away. But be aware that your child may look for other items if they feel a strong urge to hurt themselves.
  • If your child is using self-harm as a coping strategy, this means they’re unlikely to stop immediately. Talk to them about how to stay safe from infection. This includes washing the wound and any items used and having clean bandages at home.

Coping Strategies

Help your child find ways to cope when they think about self-harming:

  • Encourage your child to understand more about their own urges and ways to cope. Rethink Mental Illness have some useful information on this.
  • Suggest your child tries some apps that help to manage emotions and reduce the urge to self-harm. These include Blue IceCalm Harmand Distract.
  • Make a ‘soothe box’.  The box should contain items that can help when your child feels the need to self-harm. This could be photos, letters from loved ones, or favourite snacks. You could also include a list of songs or videos to watch, fidget toys, or a breathing technique.
  • You can find more guidance on how to help a child who is self-harming, including stories from parents, at Young Minds. Mind also has more information on self-harm.

Watch this video to learn how to support someone who self harms

Support in Sefton

If you have any urgent mental health concerns, please contact the CAMHS crisis team 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0151 293 3577 or freephone 0808 196 3550.

Kooth provides online support for children and young people in Sefton aged 11-25. 

Available 365 days a year, with free instant access to digital mental health support, the service provides free, safe, and anonymous online mental health support whenever you need it.

There are no waiting lists for support and no referral needed. Access to the platform is available instantly 24/7.

Go to Kooth website to get started today.

Support available includes:

- Counselling via live chat/messaging with qualified mental health professionals

- Self-help tools and activities

- Online community

Live chat available from:

Monday to Friday: 12pm - 10pm

Saturday and Sunday 6pm - 10pm

To view other support available please visit the Sefton Mental Health Snapshot.


Last Updated on Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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