Many who self-harm will deny they have a problem and may well deny that they need any help or support, so watching out for early warning signs can be a seriously difficult task as it’s typical for someone who self –harms to behave in a highly secretive manner. Added to this there is significantly more to el-harm that just cutting, so if you are worried about yourself, a sibling or friend then have a look at the early warning signs for self-harm below:-
Early Warning Signs
Signs and symptoms of self-injury might include:
- New cuts, scratches, bruises or other unexplained wounds
- Excessive rubbing of a specific part of the body or area creating a burn
- Wearing long sleeves or long trousers, especially noticeable in hot weather
- Heightened secrecy, doors or drawers locked, hiding certain things
- A breakdown in their typical style of communication
- Mood swings or uncharacteristic mood changes
- Change in sleep and eating patterns
- Problems with interpersonal skills and relationships
- Persistent questions about personal self, such as “Why am I even here?” “Who really cares about me anyway?”
- Behavioural, emotional and rational instability
- Tendency to have poor results and performance in school
- Lack of focus or interest in hobbies and activities previously enjoyed
- Statements about feeling helpless, hopeless or worthless
Risk Factors of Self Harm
A number of risk factors may also increase the likelihood of an individual engaging in self-harm behaviours, particularly if these risk factors are known to others and are present in conjunction with common warning signs. Common risk factors related to self-harming include:
- A history of being bullied.
- A history of sexual abuse.
- A history of physical abuse.
- A history of neglect.
- Mental illness in the family.
- Substance abuse in the family.
Stressors which can affect Self-Harm
Stress may and can lead to or intensify the feelings to self-harm behaviours as this maybe a way to find relief or a release to having to manage or cope with stress. Common stressors for young people include family disputes, sibling rivalry, exams, romantic relationships, being chosen for the sports team, being accepted and fitting in, navigating independence, getting in or going to schools or colleges, making plans for the future.
If as a person you know at times of high stress, you see any of the signs this could mean that you are at a higher risk of self-harm and will need to share your thoughts, feelings and behaviours with an individual who you trust to ensure your own safety.
Getting Help for Self-Harm
If you want to reach out to an organisation there are people who would be willing to chat to you and offer you advice and support, there are a number of these organisations listed on the website in the helpline section however they will want to chat to you to help you know that you can come through this with the right care and support.
For 1-2-1 Counselling
Call: 0800 1111
For info and advice go to: www.childline.org.uk
Call: 0845 790 9090
Helpline Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Free Phone Lifeline:
Call: 0808 808 8000
Helpline Email: www.lifelinehelplineinfo.com
24 hour Child Protection Helpline
Call: 0808 800 5000