Ask Sam letter


To Sam


Hi sorry for bothering you but my friend cuts regularly for the last 6-7 months and she sent me pictures wanting help and they were bleeding a lot...what should I do????
Ask Sam



Thank you for writing in to ask for advice on helping your friend. It can be difficult to know how to respond when you find out that someone close has been hurting themselves. It’s understandable that you’d like some help with this situation.
I imagine it might be very scary and upsetting when your friend sends you pictures of her cuts. If the photos are making you uncomfortable, it’s okay to explain this to her. Perhaps you could suggest that next time she feels like hurting herself, she calls and talks to you instead of sending pictures.  

If your friend is ever worried about her cuts, it’s really important that she gets some appropriate medical advice or treatment. She could do this by asking someone like a school nurse, parent or teacher. She could also call 111 - or even 999 in an emergency. If you ever think that your friend is seriously hurt and she won’t get herself help, then you need to go to an adult who can keep her safe. You don’t have to try and cope with it on your own.

There can be lots of different reasons why people might hurt themselves. Self-harm can be a response to feeling unable to deal with difficult experiences, feelings and emotions. It can be really difficult to stop self-harming, particularly if the reasons that caused someone to start haven’t gone away. It might be that your friend isn’t able to find any other way of coping with her feelings at the moment. I want you to know that it is not your responsibility to stop your friend from self-harming or to solve all of her problems for her. But you can be a great friend to her just by listening and being there to support her.

It sounds as though things are tough for your friend at the moment. Perhaps you could talk to your friend about what help could be available for her. She could talk to her doctor or have a look at our self-harm page. She could also take a look at the Young Minds website more information and advice.

Talking to a ChildLine counsellor could be another option for her. Getting some professional help could give her the opportunity to think about trying safer ways to deal with her emotions and feelings instead of self-harming.

Worrying about a friend can be very stressful and you need to look after yourself too. You may also find it helps to be supported with listening to your friend. Epic friends has some great advice for people worried about a friend’s mental health. You may want to talk things over with Childine yourself by phoning 0800 1111 or by logging on for a 1-2-1 chat. 

Take care,


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