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Supporting young people at risk of self-harm

What is self-harm?

Self harm is where someone does something deliberately to hurt themselves. This could be a minor injury such as hair pulling, repeated scab picking, head banging or more serious, sometimes even life threatening, injury which may include cutting parts of the body, burning, hitting, swallowing harmful substances or over dosing of medication.

Why do young people self-harm?

Self-harm is often a way to cope with painful and confused feelings for example:

  • Feeling sad, worried or angry
  • Not feeling very good or confident about themselves
  • Being hurt by others: physically, sexually or emotionally
  • Feeling under a lot of pressure at school or at home
  • Be a way of fitting in with a group of friends and needing to be accepted
  • Losing someone close, such as dying or leaving

When difficult or stressful things happen in a person’s life, it can trigger self-harm. Upsetting events that may lead to self-harm include:

  • Arguments with family and friends
  • Break-up of a relationship
  • Failing or thinking you are going to fail
  • Exams
  • Being bullied

These things can build up until the young person feels that they cannot cope any more. Self-harm can be a coping mechanism or can also a way to show other people that something is wrong in their lives.

Please find some information below which might be of some support if you, or someone you know, is at risk from self harm.

Greenshaw High School follows the London Borough of Sutton Self Harm Protocol, which can be downloaded below.