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To Sam

I self harm but i dont know how to stop

Dear sam,

i have been self harming for aboutfive or six years now and i think it is time to stop. i know that i am affecting the rest of my life and the way i look by doing this. please help me to stop.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. It takes a lot of courage to ask for help and you did the right thing to write in. I know it can be scary to self-harm, and it can be a difficult habit to change, even if you know it's having a negative effect on your life.

Sometimes you need some extra help to be able to stop. It has to be the right time for you and usually you'll need to really want to stop to make progress. No matter what stage you're at in your journey to stop self-harming, there is help available.

Some people self-harm or hurt themselves as a way of expressing how they feel, especially when they find it hard to talk about their feelings. A good first step is to tell someone about what you're trying to do. This can really help you to stick to your plans. Having someone who can cheer you on when you're doing well and help you pick up and carry on when you slip up will give you the best chance to stop. Trying to do it all alone is much harder and more likely that it won't work.

Sometimes people feel that stopping altogether right away is the best approach, others feel that they need to stop slowly. Everyone is different so this is something you'll need to try for yourself. You should also consider talking to your GP about the best way to stop harming yourself - lots of people visit their doctor to get help with this kind of problem, so they will almost certainly know how best to help.

In the end it's going to be important to really understand why you harm yourself and where those feelings come from. If you can begin to work this out, it will make it easier to find alternative ways of coping and perhaps to begin to tackle any underlying problems that might be causing you to harm.

One of the best ways of doing this is to talk it through with someone like a counsellor. If you don't have one already, our Childline counsellors are there to help you.

Thanks for your letter.


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