Have you been in a dark place and caused harm to yourself? Self-harm and self-injury are a physical response to emotional distress. Emotional pain can present physically without us even realising it.

We may be going about our day and something negative happens. This can trigger negative emotions and this can create pretty scary thoughts. Even though thoughts and only thoughts, they can appear very real to us. These scary thoughts can turn into self-harm/self-injury ideation.
On the other hand, nothing bad can happen and these can still come into our minds. This can be confusing and make us feel even worse, then before we know it, we may be engaging in self-harm/self-injury behaviours. Understanding these thoughts and interrupting them when they happen can put us on the road to self-care and self-soothing till the emotions have left our body completely.

What is Self-harm?

Self-harm is any deliberate behaviour that causes physical harm to the body, either immediate, or over a long period of time.

People may self-harm not necessarily with suicidal intent but as a way of coping with emotional distress not easily expressed in other ways.

SAFA work with all different types of self-harm such as:

✔️ Alcohol / drug abuse

✔️ Body hitting / knocking / punching

✔️ Cutting

✔️ Eating disorders

✔️ Overdoses

✔️ Pulling hair out

✔️ Risky Sexual behaviour

✔️ Self neglect

✔️ Skin burning / picking

✔️ Throwing themselves down stairs

✔️ Punching walls

(this is not an exhaustive list)

Why do people Self harm?

✔️ Cope with distressing experiences

✔️ Feel in control

✔️ Feel real

✔️ Feel physical pain which is easier to cope with than emotional distress

✔️ Release unbearable feeling of anxiety, grief or anger

Throughout the course of this toolbox , you will gain a greater understanding around self-harm and self-injury. You will also become aware of how to look after yourself and help others gain support if they are struggling.

Remember, if you have ideas for the Toolbox or think you can help with the content please let us know using our ‘Get Involved’ form here. We would love to hear from you.

Here are some Tools to better understand and help cope with self harm:


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