Tips to stop self-harming

Self-harm can feel difficult to stop, but we have tips that can help.

Trigger warning: this page contains information about self-harm which may bring up difficult feelings.

Ways to cope

Distracting yourself when you’re having thoughts of self-harm can really help you cope. You can try different positive things to help you deal with the urge to self-harm. Remember that any progress you make is an achievement you can build on.

Distractions -try as many ideas as you need.

  • Use your senses:
  1. Smell 1 thing with a strong scent like perfume, soap, a mint or cheese.
  2. Name 3 things you can hear that are far away like traffic, thunder or birds chirping.
  3. Name 5 things you can see that are green
  • Do something physical -  try our yoga videos, dance or run on the spot for 30 seconds.
  • Try the breathing exercises in the Calm Zone
  • Use the Coping Kit for ideas about distractions and ways to keep busy
  • Play a game for five minutes or challenge yourself to beat your previous score
  • Listen to your favourite song, give yourself a hug, wrap yourself in a blanket or stroke a pet.


Getting support

Self-harm thoughts can make you feel isolated and it can help to message a friend or call a family member. You don’t need to talk about self-harm, just chatting about everyday things can distract you and help you feel less alone.

No matter how you’re feeling, you don’t have to cope on your own and it's always okay to ask for help. You can ask a trusted adult for help or make an appointment to speak to your doctor for information and support to stop.

On our message boards you can read advice from other young people who have managed to stop self-harming and you can share your ideas too. You can also always talk to one of our counsellors.