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To Sam

School Counsellor

I'm seeing the school counsellor, and think I should tell her about my tendencies to self harm. Would she tell my parents/the child protection officer? Does being 16 mean the confidentiality rules aren't as strict?

I've asked her about confidentiality and she just starts talking about suicide...which seems rather unrelated.

Also, I feel like I don't get on with her properly but can't tell her this, who could I tell?


Ask Sam


Hi there,

It can sometimes be difficult to talk to other people about what's happening. But if you were able to tell the school counsellor about your self-harm, it could be the first step towards getting the help and support that you need and deserve right now. 

I can't say for sure whether she would have to tell anyone else about your self-harm. She would probably have a duty of care to keep you safe, which might mean telling someone else. However, she is an individual so it might be helpful to ask her again, but explain that you want more specific answers on situations other than suicide. I can understand you’re probably worried about giving away what your problem is by asking – in which case maybe you could ask her about a range of situations, so that it’s not so obvious. 

From what you say you are also finding it difficult to tell the counsellor that you don’t feel that you get along with her. It is important to be open and honest in these relationships to make sure that you get the most out of it. The counsellor is a professional and should be open to feedback. It's important to stick to facts and explain the reasons why you don’t feel that you get along. It could also really help to tell her what you feel needs to change to make it a better working relationship.

An alternative to talking to the school counsellor might be to talk to a ChildLine counsellor. The confidentiality promise means you can talk about anything and the only time a ChildLine counsellor would tell anyone is if they felt that your life was in danger. You can read more about this here.

I hear that confidentiality is a big issue for you. At 16 you would be able to speak to your GP in confidence about what is going on for you as the NHS treats you as an adult once you are 16. You can find out more about that on our page about seeing a doctor.

You have done the right thing to contact me and I hope my reply has been helpful. It might also be useful to read our pages about self-harm or go to

Take care,

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