Self-harm coping techniques

Self-harm can feel like a way of coping with something difficult. But we can help you find other ways to cope. 
Trigger warning: this page contains information about self-harm which may bring up difficult feelings.

COPINg with self-harm

When something happens or you’re feeling emotions that make you want to self-harm, it’s good to find other ways to cope.

We can give you some ideas. And if you’re not sure, you could have a look at the techniques on this page and try the ones which sound like they could work for you. Remember, you can always talk to one of our counsellors for help and support.

Why not try...

Drawing a butterfly where you'd normally hurt yourself. Use it to remind yourself not to self-harm and to keep trying. If you do self-harm, you can wash it off and start again. But if you manage to keep going until it fades, it means the butterfly has flown away.

Things that could help:

  • listening to music
  • talking to friends or family
  • writing down or drawing how you feel
  • exercise.

Watch: Moving on from self-harm

What to do if you're feeling:

many thoughts
to cope

Get support coping with self-harm

How can I help a friend who self-harms?

Finding out that someone you care about is self-harming can leave you feeling worried, confused and a bit helpless. But many young people who self-harm get help by talking to someone. There are things you can do to help:

  • remember that it may have been really difficult for them to have told you about self-harming, so try not to judge them
  • listen to how they feel—sometimes just being there for your friend may be what they need
  • encourage them to get support with how they're feeling
  • look after yourself and make sure that you get support as well.

Remember that Childline counsellors are here to listen whenever you or your friend needs to talk.