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To Sam

Is my friend lying about self-harm?

So I noticed what looked like self harm cuts on my friend's arm and I asked her about it. She told me that it was her neighbour's cat - she had apparently been babysitting for them and the cat scratched her. I believed this but the next day there were even more and, though they were all about her arm, they looked pretty straight for cat stratches, and they were all on her left arm, so she could have easily done it with her right hand. I'm worried as she has been feeling down recently - what should I do?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

It can be really difficult when we’re worried about people close to us. Especially if we’re not sure if our worries are right or not. Sometimes we might not know the whole story, so it’s always a good idea to find out more before we take action, like talking to them or telling someone else

It’s always worth remembering that friends might be telling the truth when we ask about something like this. But when we know they might have other issues or difficulties in their lives, it’s natural to wonder if the answer they are giving us is meant to make us worry less or even stop asking. It can be difficult for some people to say that they’re having a hard time and finding it difficult to cope, even if they’re close to us.

It might help to think about the way you’d like to begin a conversation like this with a friend first. You could think about where and when you might want to talk because getting the time and place right can make conversations like this much easier for both of you. It’s also helpful to think about what you’ll do or say if your friend gives you the same answer again. Ask yourself if you’ll accept it again. And if not, what will you do or say.

In situations like this it is always good to tell a friend that you’re worried about them and to be there for them. Let them know that you care and want to help.

You could tell your friend about ChildLine. Any young person can talk with one of the counsellors confidentially about anything at all. It might also help to have a look at our page on self-harm.

We're also here for you if you'd like support.

Take care,

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