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To Sam

Self harm

Im 14, and I have been self harming for about three months now on my hips and ankles where no one would see, but it has recently come into summer and my parents saw some of my cuts, but I told them it was the cat. I'm really scared of how they would react if they found out. One of my good friends recently opened up about her cutting and my parents were really mad and checked me and made me swear that I wouldn't. I'm really nervous about what they would do because I think they would be more angry than supportive, and I'm worried that it could ruin their relationship, because they are still together. I'm scared that they might think it was because of my friend and ban her from seeing me or something like that. How can I hide the cuts or be sure that they won't judge me badly? I was thinking of maybe going to the school counsellor first, then if they reacted badly there would be an adult to support me. Is this a good idea? Please help, I'm really scared!
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for your letter.

You’ve been coping with a lot of difficult feelings and emotions on your own for a while. Now that you’re feeling ready to talk to someone else, speaking to your school counsellor could be a really good idea.

It can feel very stressful to imagine how someone might react to something important that we’d like to tell them. You’re imagining a negative response from your parents. It sounds like remembering how angry your parents were when they found out that your friend self-harms is stopping you from talking to them about how you’re feeling.

Often it can be difficult for someone to understand why they self-harm so explaining to someone else can be really hard. You might find it useful to show your parents our self-harm pages, this page at Family Lives or this one at Recover Your Life.

I understand that self-harm can be a way of dealing with lots of different things. Thinking about the feelings that you get before you cut may help when you talk to someone else.

It’s important to remember that you’re in control of how much you tell someone and sometimes it can help to write down what you’d like to say first. The counsellors at ChildLine could even help you to practise what you’d like to say if you wanted.

You can always ask your school counsellor first what they can keep private but most professionals do have to tell someone else if they’re worried about your safety. If your school counsellor decides they want to talk to your parents they should talk to you about this first.

We have a page about asking an adult for help - you might find it helpful to read through it.

If you don’t feel ready to talk to your school counsellor straight away, you could talk to a ChildLine counsellor in a 1-2-1 chat, by calling 0800 1111 or by sending an email.

I hope we hear from you again when you’re ready,

Take care.


Need help straight away?

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

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