Ask Sam letter


To Sam

My friend self-harms

My friend self-harms, she has been doing it for a good few months and she doesn't know why.
she doesn't want her parents to know as they'll just fuss and she doesn't get on with them too well.
she just wants someone close to her to talk to.
she has a teacher that she's quite close to and she's be thinking about talking to her for around a week. But she doesn't want her parents to know, so if she told her teacher would she have to tell her parents?
Thank you, E.
Ask Sam


Hello E,

Thank you for finding the courage and the time to write to me.

I can hear that you are worried about your friend and want to support and help her in any way you can. It sounds like things have been difficult for your friend for a long time and she is using self-harm as a way of coping. As she is unsure why she does it, you might like to suggest that your friend thinks back to a time when she didn’t self-harm and what may have changed. She could try writing this down in a diary if it makes it clearer for her.

It sounds like your friend trusts you and was really brave to talk to you about what's going on for her. It can be difficult to talk to people about how they are feeling. It’s understandable that she may be scared, especially if she does not get on with her parents.

There are people who can help and it’s really positive that your friend has identified a teacher she trusts that she might talk to. Maybe you could suggest to your friend that you can help her talk to the teacher, if you feel that’s something you want to do.

Schools have a policy and duty of care towards pupils so it’s quite likely that your teacher would have to talk to her parents about this. If this is something she is worried about she could always ask about confidentiality before speaking to the teacher – or perhaps you could do that for her, if you felt able to.

You’re a really good friend and she is lucky to have you, but it’s important to make sure you get support as well because it can affect you too.

You have not mentioned how your friend harms. Whichever way she chooses to harm it is always important that she keeps herself safe. You and your friend may find our page about self-harm helpful to read as it has some good safety tips on there.

Perhaps you could encourage your friend to speak with one of our counsellors. As well as calling the free number 0800 1111, you and your friend could also log in for a 1-2-1 chat or email us for confidential advice and support. The counsellors would be happy to talk to you more about this or any other issues. Your feelings and safety are very important to us.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

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

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter