Ask Sam letter


To Sam

My friend needs help

My friend starting self harming about 2 months ago now, and me and his other friends have tried everything to help him eg. confiscating scissors that we have found him using in school to cur himself, saying that we're here for him no matter what, and always being there to talk to if he wants to discuss anything about his self harming.

However, he never listens to us, and refuses help. Its getting really bad for him because he's started to cut vertically and his mood has gone severely downhill. We feel like its gone beyond our help now and we want to tell his parents, but we don't know the situation in his home or whether his parent know already etc.

We try everything to support him and even though we dont know the cause of him cutting, we presume its depression because we've looked at his blog on tumblr and there seems to be a lot of posts poiting towards depression, we've no idea how  to help him or what we should do because he refuses help, we're also extremely worried for him as he's also been having suicudal thoughts, and we dont want to bw the freinds who stood back and watched because we gave up on helping him.

Please can you give us some advice as to how we can help him? We're getting desperate and we dont want our best friend to hurt himself further. Thankyou

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for taking the time to write to me. Seeing someone we care for hurt themselves and knowing that they might have suicidal thoughts can be really upsetting. I’m pleased that you got in touch.

There can be lots of reasons that people self-harm and these can be hard to understand, even for the person who is harming. Self-harm can often be a way to deal with negative feelings or emotions and it can be really difficult for people to stop. It’s possible that your friend hasn’t been able to find other ways to cope with what he’s going through so far.

I can hear how much you and your other friends care and want to help, but it’s important to remember that you’re not responsible for your friend’s choices. It’s not your fault if he chooses to harm himself. Continuing to let him know that you’re there to listen and talk through his feelings if he wants to is a great way to offer support.

I think you’re right to think about talking to an adult to get your friend some more help to keep himself safe. Although he’s refused help so far, it’s always okay to talk to an adult that you trust if you are worried about someone’s safety. If you’re unsure about talking to his parents, perhaps you and your other friends could decide if there’s a member of staff at school or college that you could approach, or whether you could talk to the mum or dad of someone else in your friendship group.

You mentioned your friend’s mood going downhill and his suicidal thoughts. If you ever feel like he’s in danger and needs help to stay safe, it’s okay to call 999.

We have lots of information about self-harm and suicidal feelings that you could mention to your friend. It might also be useful to have a look at these pages with the rest of your friends, to help you understand more about what’s going on for him. You might also want to let your friend know about the ChildLine message boards where young people post to each other and offer support. There is one about self- harm.

Your friend would also always be welcome to talk to a ChildLine counsellor, either by calling for free on 0800 1111, or logging on for a 1-2-1 chat via the ChildLine website. Worrying about a friend can be tough and it’s also important that you and the rest of your friends continue to get support. It sounds like you talk to each other, but you’re also welcome to talk to ChildLine anytime you need to.

Take care,


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