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Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership

If you are worried about the welfare or safety of a child or young person

Email: mashagency@lewisham.gov.uk

Tel: 020 8314 6660

Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership

Email: safeguardingpartnership@lewisham.gov.uk

Tel: 020 8314 3396


Self-harm can be really hard to understand but it is a lot more common than some people think. Between 1 in 15 children and young people self-harm.

Self-harming is when a young person chooses to inflict pain on themselves in some way.

If you are self-harming, you may be:

  • Cutting of the skin with objects (e.g. razor blades, scissors, pens, bottle tops etc.)
  • Scratching the skin.
  • Picking wounds or interfering with healing.
  • Burning.
  • Ingesting toxic substances.
  • Excessive drug or alcohol intake.
  • Hitting or punching themselves.
  • Head banging or biting themselves.
  • Pulling hair out.
  • Swallowing or inserting objects.
  • Taking an overdose.
  • Staying in an abusive relationship.
  • Taking risks too easily.
  • Restricting their eating.

It is usually a sign that something is wrong.

You may self-harm for many reasons, including:

  • feeling anxious, depressed or stressed
  • feeling that you do not have a support network or way to deal with your problems
  • You have experienced a stressful life event.
  • Feeling isolation.
  • Have low self-esteem.
  • On-going family relationship problems.
  • Being bullied.
  • You have had a bereavement.
  • Substance and alcohol misuse.
  • Family circumstances are difficult.
  • Stress and worry – particularly about school and exams.
  • Experience of abuse.
  • Feelings of being rejected in your life.

The issues then ‘build up’ to the point where you feel like you are going to explode. Young people who self-harm often talk about the ‘release’ that they feel after they have self-harmed, as they use it as a mechanism to cope with their problems.

Self-harming is dangerous. It is a sign that you have an underlying problem, but if it gets out of hand you could risk killing yourself, maybe accidentally.

Getting help to deal with some of these underlying issues is often key to overcoming or managing self-harm.

Where to get help

It's important to talk about what you're feeling and get the help you need.  Try talking to an adult you trust about your feelings and what's happening for you.  Or access one of the services below:-

  • Young Minds
    • Parents Helpline 0808 802 55 44
    • Advice for professionals

  • GP – Make an appointment to talk about your concerns.  Your may need some support from the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

  • Kooth
    • Online chat support for young people
  • Papyrus Hopeline 0800 068 41 41
    • Confidential advice for young people
    • Advice for parents / carers.
    • Advice for professionals

  • ChildLine – 0800 11 11
    • Confidential advice for young people
    • Advice for professionals

  • Place2Be
    • Individual one to one, drop in counselling for children and young people experiencing emotional wellbeing issues at 10 schools in Lewisham.
  • National Self-Harm Network
    • UK charity offering moderated support forum for self-harm
  • NHS Choices - Moodzone
    • Online and audio resources to improve mental wellbeing and information about available treatments
  • MindEd
    • Online training for anyone working with 0-18 year olds



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