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Coping with urges to self-harm

The content here talks about self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and other mental health problems, which some people may find triggering.

Person comforting someone and covering them with a blanket. There are both sitting on an open hand.

What is self-harm?

Self-harm is when someone intentionally harms their body. That might look like cutting, scratching, hitting, or burning themselves or taking non-lethal overdoses. It can be something quite minor or high-risk. Someone might self-harm frequently or every once in a while. Each individual’s experience of self-harm is unique.

Most people who self-harm don’t want to die. However, self-harm can increase the risk of suicide. That means that someone might unintentionally end their life or the feelings of distress can become more difficult to manage over time and lead to thoughts of suicide.

If you:

  • Think about wanting to die or killing yourself

  • Have made plans to end your life

  • Feel hopeless, like a burden to others, or that things will never get any better

  • Have attempted suicide in the past

It’s really important to tell someone how you feel. If you have seriously harmed yourself or feel that you are in immediate danger of doing so, call emergency services or go to your local emergency department. You can also find links to local options for crisis support in the sidebar or here. There are people who can help you and it’s important to talk to someone immediately.