Ask Sam letter


To Sam

New job and self harm scars

I recently got a new job, I’m meant to be starting on Sunday, they gave me the uniform and it’s a short sleeved top, you get a fleece too but I’m not sure when you get it, and I have very noticeable scars and I don’t know what to do if I have to start my first shift with no fleece because I can’t wear a top underneath and I wouldn’t know who to talk to or what to say

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Self-harm can continue to have an impact on your life, even after you have stopped. Scars might stay around for some time and coming to terms with this is one step in the journey to recovery. It's important for you to feel ready to have conversations about self-harm and to choose when you are open about any scars you have. If you're not ready then it's important to tell your supervisor or manager as early as possible, to give them the best chance of helping you.

The reasons people self-harm can be linked to the way they feel about themselves, or they may be linked to something that has happened to them. They may also be struggling with feelings and thoughts that are difficult to deal with. There’s no right or wrong reason to harm yourself, but there is support available for you.

You don't need to be ashamed of your self-harm scars, but it's okay to feel however you feel. It can be scary to think about explaining why you have scars and unfortunately sometimes people can be judgemental. Even though it is not right for people to do this, you should feel prepared and confident talking about it.

If you don't feel prepared or confident then it's important to tell your manager as soon as possible. You could explain that you have scars on your arms that you are self-conscious about, you don't have to say where you got them if you don't want to. You could also ask that they try to have your fleece ready for your first shift. Giving them as much notice as possible will give them the best chance of being able to help you.

You don’t have to tell people personal information about yourself unless you feel comfortable with them knowing. It’s okay to say that some things are private. Speaking to a Childline counsellor can be a good place to begin a conversation about self-harm and practise what you might say.

I hoped this has helped.

Thanks for sending me this letter.

Take care,


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