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To Sam

I think my friend might be self harming

I'm worried about my friend because last time we went swimming I saw she had loads of deep long scars at the top of thighs. She told they were from her cat but when I said there's a lot of them she said she had fallen on some barbed wire. I don't think she did because they didn't look anything like cute I've got from cats or barbed wire and some were fresh and some were old, she's been diagnosed with depression and anxiety so I'm worried this might be her way of coping with it. I also know she's insecure about her legs. What should I do as she hasn't told be herself and I'm just guessing?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Discovering a friend might be self-harming can be really worrying and upsetting. It sounds like she’s going through a tough time at the moment after being diagnosed with depression  and anxiety. And this can be scary for some people especially if they’re struggling to cope with the diagnosis or with their feelings in general. But there are things you can do to help your friend.

Sometimes when people self-harm it's really hard for them to tell people because of all the emotions involved. Often just listening and being there for your friend can be really helpful. Try talking to her at a quiet time away from others and offer your support. But don’t be upset if she doesn’t want to say anything, as she might not be ready yet.

It’s good to support your friend and reassure her that you’re there for her when she is ready to talk. You could suggest that she talk to an adult she trusts, like a teacher or family member. If you feel like your friend’s in danger or you’re really worried about them, it’s okay to tell an adult you trust about what’s going on.  

Your feelings are really important too and you’ve done a great thing by contacting me. If you ever feel like you need to talk, you can always chat with a counsellor online or give us a call on 0800 1111. Your friend could do this too. There’s also support for you too from the self-harm message boards

Thank you for taking the time to write to me.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

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

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