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 you’re feeling emotions that make you want to self-harm, it’s good to find other ways of coping.

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. The aim is to keep the butterfly alive. If you self-harm you ‘kill’ the butterfly. You can also let it fade over time, so that the butterfly can fly away. But the most important thing is to not self-harm.

Things that could help:

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

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.