What is self-harm?

Self-harm is when someone deliberately injures or damages themselves. Often this leaves a mark, a scar, draws blood or leaves a bruise. The most common ways of doing this are cutting, scratching or pricking to draw blood, burning, picking at old wounds, punching or head-banging a wall.

Who does it?

All kinds of people self-harm, but it’s most common among 15-19 year olds. It’s not known exactly how many people self-harm, as it’s often hidden.

Young Minds (a charity campaigning for children and young people’s mental health) have a helpline exclusively for parents who are worried about self-harm. You can contact them on:
0808 802 5544

The NSPCC have some good information about the warning signs of self-harm and how to help someone you believe to be self-harming:

The Royal College of Psychiatrists have produced an information leaflet for parents of children who self-harm:

The charity Family Lives have an information page for what to do next when you discover your child is self-harming:


self harm