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:

Activities to distract from Self Injury

Activities to Distract from Self Injury The main way people help themselves when they want to self-harm is through distraction. Different distractions work for different people, and the same distraction won’t necessarily work for you every time. For example, distracting yourself from anger feels very different to distracting yourself from fear, so it’s important that… Continue reading Activities to distract from Self Injury

Self Harm

Self Harm Explains self-harm, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. What is self-harm? Self-harm is when you hurt yourself as a way of dealing with very difficult feelings, painful memories or overwhelming situations and experiences. Some people have described… Continue reading Self Harm

Anger Management

Anger Management “We all feel angry sometimes, often when there’s a good reason. Uncontrolled anger can be harmful, but you can learn to manage it.” Know the Warning Signs Managing your anger effectively means recognizing the warning signs. If you’re able to identify when you’re starting to get angry, you’ll be better prepared to stop… Continue reading Anger Management

Bullying in the Family

Bullying in the Family A family member who is bullying you may: Have unrealistic expectations or make unreasonable demands Blame you when things go wrong Invalidate your thoughts and feelings by undermining, minimising, or dismissing you or your thoughts Create chaos in your life by starting arguments, nitpicking, or making contradictory statements Use emotional blackmail… Continue reading Bullying in the Family

Bullying Myself

Bullying Myself Have you ever caught yourself thinking things like this? I’m no good, and I never will be I should be a better spouse/parent/friend I just can’t handle things I’m stupid, worthless, never good enough I should have more energy I shouldn’t be so exhausted all of the time Other people can manage their… Continue reading Bullying Myself


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