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To Sam

I self harmed for the first time

Note: We have changed a few words in your letter but the meaning has not changed.

Hi Sam
Im 13 and today I got really angry and I had an urge to cut myself, I have had the urge before but never actually done it untill now. I ended up harming myself. I understand I shouldn't do it and that its bad. I don't want to kill myself either and I don't want to do it again I'm just scared I will want to if I get angry again. I also dont want to tell my mum because I know she will understands but I'm too ashamed.
Thanks x

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter telling me about how you have started to self-harm. I’m really pleased that you felt able to tell me about it. It sounds like you are scared that you might want to do it again if you get angry.

A lot of young people tell me that self-harming helps them to cope with feelings like anger and it seems like this might also be the case for you. They also tell me that they want help and support to stop harming themselves. Often it can be hard to see that there are other ways of dealing with difficult feelings. It's important to know that it is possible and there are people who can support you through that. Perhaps if you were able to find a way of managing your angry feelings then the urge to cut would get less. You can find some techniques to manage anger on the ChildLine website. 

I want to let you know that it’s important to stay safe. If you are ever worried about your cuts for any reason – like if they are infected, or won’t stop bleeding – then it’s okay to get help. You could do this by speaking to an adult you trust, a nurse or doctor or by phoning 999 for an ambulance in an emergency. It’s good to hear that you think your mum will understand. Perhaps you can think more in terms of the ongoing help and support she can give you and focus less on the feelings of shame which will pass. It is good to see that you do not want to harm yourself again.

Some people use distractions to help take their mind off the urge to self-harm until the urge passes. This could be something that you enjoy doing like listening to music, talking to a friend or drawing. Some people find talking to a ChildLine counsellor can help. Other people sometimes use alternatives to self-harming, for example punching a pillow to help get rid of the angry feeling. If you would like to check out more ideas, you can find these on our self-harm coping techniques section.

If you would like to talk about your feelings some more, you could talk to a counsellor at ChildLine either by phoning them on 0800 1111, logging on for a 1-2-1 chat from the website or by sending them an email. 

Take care,

Need help straight away?

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

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