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my friend is self harming

I just found out today that my friend is self harming! I'm terrified because i'm scared she will take it to far. I really did try to talk to her about it but she just said that its her body and she can do what she wants to. Me and my other friend decided that we are going to talk to the nurse about it. I know I cant tell her mom because her mom is not understanding and I know that it runs through her family. She said that her mom will disown her if she tells her because that's what her aunty did to her cousin. Please reply I don't know what else to do.
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Sam

Hi there,

Thanks for your letter.

It sounds like finding out your friend has been self-harming was a big shock to you and it’s left you feeling really scared about what could happen. You have told me that you are scared your friend will take it too far and I’m wondering how it would feel to let her know that you're scared for her safety. Sometimes people don't fully understand how their behaviour affects us and it can help to tell them. It can also be good for friends we are concerned about to know we care for them and that we are here to help them.

I can hear that you and another friend are thinking about talking to the school nurse. It's important to remember that schools have a different confidentiality policy to ChildLine, which means there might be some things they have to tell someone's parents about. You might like to think about checking what kind of things the nurse would need to pass on to someone else.

From what you have told me, it sounds like your friend might have quite a difficult time at home and it makes me wonder whether that could be one of the things that makes it hard for her to cope. You might like to let her know that the ChildLine counsellors are there for her if she would like to talk about anything at all. She can phone them free on 0800 1111, she can also use the website to email a counsellor or talk by logging on for a 1-2-1 chat.

ChildLine talks to lots of young people who use self-harm as a way to cope with difficult feelings and we know that it can be hard for people in their lives to understand what would make them do that. It can be very difficult trying to support a friend who self-harms and I want you to know that it’s okay to ask for some support for yourself too.

You might like to take a look at our self-harm page. It explains a bit about some of the reasons people might self-harm and ways of getting help. Also, in the coping techniques section there is some information about trying to support a friend who self-harms that you might find useful.

I’m glad you felt able to write your letter and I hope this reply is helpful to you. Remember, the ChildLine counsellors care about you and they are always there to support you.

Take care,

Sam

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