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Girlfriend Self Harm

Dear Sam,
I have recently found out that my girlfriend self-harms. She has told me that she had done so for the last 2 years and has thought about suicide before. A lot of things have gone wrong for her: her dad is telling her nasty things about her step-dad despite the fact she hasn't seen her dad since for about 7 years. Her sister has a serious medical condition, and on New Years day, she was admitted into the ICU and the doctors didn't think she would make it, she's still struggling now. She's had lots of issues with her friends abandoning her and she thinks it's all her fault. Some of her close family friend have been diagnosed with cancer and she feels unable to talk to her best friend for fear of pushing her over some line and is too scared and self conscious to talk to an adult. I'm not sure what to say or do to help her, I would really appreciate some help?
thanks so much,
Ask Sam


Hi there,

It can be worrying for us when someone close to us is going through a difficult time. And we want to help but are unsure of how to help or where to start.  It’s really clear how much your girlfriend has had to go through over the last couple of years and it seems like self-harming might have helped her to cope. Supporting someone you love or care for when they are going through a difficult time can be really tough. But you don't have to do it alone. I’m really glad you wrote to me.

I understand that you care for your girlfriend and want to be able to help. This isn’t something you have to be completely responsible for. I can hear how self-conscious she feels about talking to an adult. Maybe you can think of talking to someone you trust for support.

It can really help sharing things with someone we don't know but feel able to trust, like a ChildLine counsellor. You could be with her and talk to a counsellor while you’re together, either by calling free on 0800 1111 or through 1-2-1 chat online. Or, if talking to adults feels too difficult right now, she could check out our message boards and get support from other young people.

ChildLine could also support you with how it feels to care for someone who is going through such a difficult time. You could talk to us at any time. You told me that your girlfriend has felt suicidal in the past. If you’re ever worried that she might not be safe, it’s always OK to tell someone.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

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

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