Treatment Description

Self-harm is when you intentionally damage or injure your body, usually as a way of dealing with very difficult feelings, painful memories or overwhelming emotional distress. Some people have described self-harm as a way to:

  • Express something that is hard to put into words.
  • Turn invisible thoughts or feelings into something visible.
  • Change emotional pain into physical pain.
  • Reduce overwhelming emotional feelings or thoughts.
  • Have a sense of being in control.
  • Escape traumatic memories.
  • Have something in life that they can rely on.
  • Punish yourself for your feelings and experiences.
  • Stop feeling numb, disconnected or dissociated.
  • Create a reason to physically care for themselves.
  • Express suicidal feelings and thoughts without taking their own life.

After self-harming you may feel a short-term sense of release, but the cause of your distress is unlikely to have gone away. Self-harm can also bring up very difficult emotions and could make you feel worse.

Sometimes when people self-harm, they feel on some level that they intend to die. More than half of people who die by suicide have a history of self-harm.

This assessment will result in your care team working out a treatment plan with you to help with your distress. If you are in crisis call NHS 111 or visit your local A&E.