Ask Sam letter


To Sam

child abused

hello i am writing to talk to you about a friend i am very worried about i am only 14 and she is 13 bacically whats happened is she had self-harmed and i noticed it yesterday they are quite deep cuts i asked her and she burst into tears and told me what happened she said that things have happpened at home and  then the bell went for next lesson so we went but she is in a different class to me and later on about 9ish at night she text me saying ' i feel worthless, used all the time but thats only because of what my parents do to me' and then she went off line so i sat up all night, thinking and getting worried and then today her sister found out and screamed at her at school so she went to study centre all day (study is where you go if your naughty or something) but she stayed in there all day and i went to her after school i ran to study to go and see her she then told me that her parents hit her scream at her punch her hit her with other things and i am really worried about her this may not seem like a big problem but i am really worried please contact me back.. 
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter.

It sounds like you've found out a lot recently. I can tell you're worried about what's happening at home to your friend and how she is coping.

It’s really positive that your friend trusts you enough to talk to you about what's going on for her. Sometimes sharing things can help you feel less alone. Finding out that someone self-harms can be confusing and worrying, so it can help to be ready to support your friend. First you can find out more about self-harm and take a look at the message boards too. The message boards are a place where young people share their experiences of self-harm and other worries.

Often people who self-harm are doing so to cope with some very strong and difficult feelings. These feelings can be caused by many things, including being treated badly at home. There can be risks with people cutting themselves, so it would be good to give your friend some advice about this. It sounds like you are worried that the cuts you have seen are deep. If a cut does not stop bleeding, it is important to get medical help - either by visiting a GP or a walk-in centre. If it is more serious, you or your friend can call an ambulance on 999 to get help. If you want any more advice about this, you can talk it through with a ChildLine counsellor. It might also be helpful for you and your friend to take a look the coping techniques section on our website for ideas about safer ways to cope with her feelings.

I can hear that things are feeling really tough for your friend at home. Parents have a responsibility to look after their children well, by not hurting them, and not making them upset. If parents hit or punch their children, this is physical abuse. It sounds like your friend is being physically and emotionally abused at home. This is never okay.

Maybe you've thought about telling someone else what you know because of how worried you are. If you do, it’s important to understand what will happen next as it might be different depending on who you tell. For example, if you told a youth worker, teacher or social worker, they will have a policy about what they have to do next. If you talk to ChildLine or another adult you trust such as a family member, it’s likely that they would be there more to support you and help you look at options first.

In order to be there for your friend, it is important you are able to look after yourself and cope with how this has left you feeling too. You can get support for this at ChildLine by talking to a counsellor. You can talk to a counsellor on a 1-2-1 chat, by email or by calling 0800 1111. The counsellors talk to many people who self-harm and also people who support friends so they can listen without judging you and help you find ways to look after yourself.

Whatever happens next, it’s important to remember you are not alone, and neither is your friend. ChildLine counsellors are there to support you whenever you need to talk.

Bye for now,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter