Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Self Harm Help

I've been self harming for a while now and I know it's not healthy. I know it's not good for me to do it but I'm addicted and can't stop. I really want to stop though. Some of my friends have noticed my cuts and I feel guilty that I'm outting them through the pain of knowing I cut (I know it sounds self centered but I've been there - I've seen my best friends cuts before I started and I felt so sad). I just want to stop harming and not hurt people anymore but I don't want to tell my parents - it'd hurt them so much. Is there any way (bearing in mind I'm 14) I could get help from my GP without my parents knowing? Thank you for your time :)
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for writing to me and telling me all about what is going on for you. I’m really glad that you were brave enough to share your story.

It sounds like you are going through so much at the moment and you’re worried about the effect your self-harm will have on the people in your life. You said that you sound self-centred - but throughout the whole letter you focus on the feelings of others. To me, you sound to be a highly thoughtful and caring person. It sounds like you are putting the feelings of others before your own feelings.

I understand that people can be shocked and confused to hear that somebody close to them is self-harming. Not everybody understands self-harm. I know that you have been in this position yourself in the past and it made you sad. However it's important to remember that many young people use self-harm as a way of coping. It sounds to me that you may be self-harming as a way of coping with something the best way you can, so don’t beat yourself up too much by feeling guilty for your friends and parents.

I’m really glad that you want to stop self-harming. You are right when you say that it’s not healthy. Lots of young people come to me to talk about finding other ways to cope with their feelings. Many young people find that using distraction techniques like snapping elastic bands on their wrists or rubbing ice cubes against their skin works rather than actually harming their skin. Some young people find that talking to somebody when they get the urge to self-harm helps. Perhaps you could try talking with a ChildLine counsellor as a way of stopping yourself wanting to self-harm.

There are lots of different distraction techniques out there and different ones will work for different people. I can hear that you feel addicted to self-harming so it might be hard to stop at first. The most important thing is that you have taken a positive step in deciding to start trying. Perhaps you could have a look at the ChildLine message boards and see what other young people say about stopping self-harm and what has helped them.

We have more information about self-harm which hopefully you will find useful. If you wanted to talk to a doctor about self-harming then you can visit your GP and they should keep it confidential, as long as they feel you understand what they are telling you. You can prepare to see your GP by going to

Remember you don’t have to go through this alone. You have taken a really positive step by asking for advice. If you feel like you need somebody to talk to, ChildLine counsellors are always there.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

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

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