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My friend cuts herself,What do I do?

I recently found out that my friend is cutting herself.We are both thirteen year old girls.She carries sharp scissors around with her at school.I am always reminding her that I love her and that she is beautiful and that she has a purpose.I have asked her if she wants to talk about things that are happening maybe family problems and her recent brake up with her boyfriend.I know she is only 13,but like she really loved him and I could of imagined them getting married when they are older.She doesn't know that I know she cuts herself.She loves art and music and expresses her feelings a little bit through them.She broke down in class today.I don't know what to do

:( Help

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Sam

Hi there,

Supporting someone who is self-harming can be challenging. Everyone's different and copes with feelings in their own way. And working out how to help someone takes time and patience. One of the most important things to remember is that there's a limit to what you can do to help. You have to look after yourself and recognise when you've done as much as you can.

Someone who's harming themselves could be going through anything, including emotional and mental health problems. There's no single reason someone may choose to self-harm. For some people, self-harm can be very addictive. This makes knowing the best way to help them seem very difficult.

Everything you're doing at the moment is a good way to support a friend, no matter what they're going through. It's important to make sure they know you're there for them if they want to talk, without forcing them to tell you everything right away. Sometimes people want to share what's going on in their lives or what they're worried about, but others may not be ready for that.

If someone doesn't talk to you about what's happening, it doesn't mean you're not helping. Sometimes you can support a friend by being a distraction from their problem. Being the person who they can feel normal around and who doesn't treat them differently might be exactly what they're looking for.

The important thing to remember about supporting someone with emotional and mental health problems is that no matter how close you are to a person, you're not their therapist or counsellor. It's not likely you'll be able to fix their problems - and it's good to remind yourself of that if you're feeling stuck. You can also encourage them to speak to an adult they trust so they can get more support with how they're feeling.

Thanks for your letter - I hope this has helped. It's important to look after your own feelings, and if you ever need support, you can always talk to someone here at Childline.

Take care.

Sam

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