Webpage written by Aya, age 18 in Leeds

Self Harm

Do you plan to act on suicidal feelings? Have you seriously harmed yourself?
  • You can go to any hospital A&E department and ask for help
  • If you need urgent help, call 999 and ask for an ambulance
Get help now 

 West Yorkshire Night OWLS  is available 8pm to 8am every day for children, young people, parents and carers across West Yorkshire. Call free on 0800 1488 244 or text on 07984 392700 

Child bereavement Uk - logo.pngCall Childline free on 0800 1111

youngminds-logo (1).png  Don't want to talk? Text YM to 85258, the Young Minds Crisis Messenger for free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week support.  

☎︎ Contact your GP or call NHS 111


youngminds-logo (1).png Young Minds has a wealth of information and resources to help. Watch this video from them: 

What is self harm?

Self harm is ANY type of action performed with the intent of causing yourself pain or discomfort. Many young people are unaware that what they are doing is considered self harm.  There are many reasons for self harming. You may feel the urge to self harm if you are feeling anxious, depressed, stressed or bullied.

Some behaviours can be confused with self harm such as picking your skin and hair. This is called self injury as there is no intent of causing self harm but is done for another reason instead.

Self harm is difficult to talk about, however you are not alone. 

Types of self harm

Self harm is not always physical. Self harm can also be emotional and mental. Examples include:

Why do young people self harm?

There can be many reasons for people to self harm including:

  • To feel something if they are emotionally numb
  • To punish themselves
  • As an unhealthy coping mechanism to “feel better”
  • To deal with their emotions or feel in control
  • As a silent cry for help (visible, physical self harm)

Ways to deal with it

Asking for help is not always easy and can take a lot of courage. It can feel scary and depending on your situation there may be different things for you to consider.

If you think you're affected by self harm then talk to someone, for example a parent, guardian or relative you trust or perhaps a teacher? If you don't feel as though you can confide in anyone, talk to your GP.

If you would like to begin finding techniques to reduce your self harming before getting help from others, here are some safe techniques. 

  • Fill a bowl with cold water and ice. Do some ice dunks. It will help you to calm down and shock yourself into avoiding panic attacks. It is also soothing. 
  • Exercise is also a good method of distraction. It will release endorphins which relieve pain and reduce stress as well as helping you to feel better!
  • Punch cushions or a punching bag if you have one!
  • Write down your thoughts (on paper) and tear it up.
  • Dance around your room!
  • Watch your favourite show, have a nap, cuddle a soft toy.
  • Tidy your room, organise something, write a list.
  • Smell something strong or take a shower.
  • Write your feelings down.
  • Realise you don't have to be perfect and mistakes are natural.

Why talk to your GP? Self harm can be a sign of other problems that you need help with such as depression or anxiety and they can refer you to the right people for treatment. Your GP will be aware of different local services which may be able to offer you some help. 

Treating Injuries. You may well need treatment quickly for injuries from self harming. If you have any open wounds, they may require a dressing. A school nurse or GP may be able to treat the injuries themselves or may refer you to hospital. If you take more than your prescribed dosage, or a pill or tablet that is not prescribed for you, you will require urgent care via emergency services. 

Frequently asked questions


Is self harm linked to suicide?


Self harm is not always a suicide attempt. Suicidal ideation and self harm do not always go hand in hand.

Is it attention seeking?

Self harm is not attention seeking. Scars are often hidden, and even if not, that doesn't mean the person is attention seeking.

Is it a phase?

No. Self harm is not just a phase and teenagers are not the only group of people that self harm.

Can't you 'just stop'?

People often can’t “just stop”. Sometimes self harming becomes like an addiction and people need help and support. 

When and where to get help

If you need help now visit our 'Help I'm in Crisis' page. 

 Battle Scars is a charity in Leeds supporting anybody affected by self-harm. Visit their page for help on managing self harm. They also run a face to face peer support group for 16 to 25 yr olds. 

 West Yorkshire Night OWLS  is available 8pm to 8am every day for young people across West Yorkshire. Call free on 0800 1488 244 or text on 07984 392700. Visit the website to use the online chat function www.wynightowls.org.uk

 Kooth is a free, safe, and anonymous online wellbeing community for young people. You can sign up without being referred by anyone and you don’t need to download any apps.

 Visit Leeds MindMate for advice on self harm and self help and wellbeing tips. 

 Text Chat Health Leeds 07520 619 750, Calderdale 07480 635297 or Bradford and Kirklees 07312 263032. Chat Health aim to reply to your text message within 24 hours 8.30am to 4pm, Mon to Fri.

 Young minds has a good range of advice on self harm.

 Whether you want a quick chat or more focused help, the team is here to help young people with mental health, relationships, work life, school life, depression and any other issues all year round. Call 0808 808 4994 between 4pm and 11pm every day, email them, chat one to one online, sign up for free counselling or text THEMIX on 85258 for free 24 hours a day crisis support.

 Whatever you're going through, call free any time, from any phone, on 116 123. They're there for you, whatever your age. You can talk to them about whatever is on your mind, they'll listen. This might include how you look, problems at school or college, how people are treating you, and worries about exams or money.


 Calm Harm is a free app that helps you manage or resist the urge to self-harm.