Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Talking to a doctor

Hey, so basically yesterday I booked an appointment to see a doctor, about self harm and I want to know what they're going to suggest and stuff and what I'll need to say, and also I'm really scared because I never go to the doctors as I'm never ill, so I was surprised that you didn't have to say what it was about and stuff, so if I just go in and say 'I'm self harming and I want some help' he wouldn't find that weird would he? Can you go to doctors about self harm? And what will they do? Thank you!
Ask Sam



You’ve done a really brave thing deciding to get some help for yourself by visiting your doctor. You can talk to your doctor about any physical or mental health issue, including self-harming.  

Your doctors only have a short time to see each patient, so it can be good to prepare what you’re going to say before you get there, and it sounds like you are already thinking about this. It can sometimes feel scary talking about something personal or speaking about something for the first time. One way of overcoming nerves is to write down what you want to say and let the doctor read it. Read more about visiting your doctor

Telling the doctor that you're self-harming and want some help could be a good opening line. I’m not medically trained so I can’t tell you exactly what will happen in the appointment, but it’s likely the doctor will ask you more about your self-harming and will want to see your wounds and scars to check that they’re not infected. The doctor might offer you some advice about caring for your wounds and also talk to you about safety.

The doctor may also ask about the triggers for your self-harming and talk about other ways of coping. It could be that the doctor wants you to get some further help and support such as counselling or therapy, perhaps by referring you to an organisation called CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

You might also want to look on Doc Ready, which helps people prepare for appointments with a doctor for things like self-harming, depression and anxiety.

If you'd like to talk this through more or you feel you would like support after visiting your doctor, you could contact our counsellors, who are there to listen and support you with your feelings or anything that is on your mind.

Take care for now,

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