Bullying and abuse prominent factors in young people taking to self-harm
Every year, thousands of children and young people get in touch with us about self-harming.
In fact, one in three counselling sessions to Childline in 2016-17 related to mental and emotional health and well-being issues.
This is often something they can struggle to share with others as it can be linked to strong feelings of shame, guilt and fear of what people may think of them.
One 12-year-old child, who contacted us for help, told us that bullying was a prominent factor in their self-harming.
They said: “I started self-harming because of bullying and I had no friends – I felt so alone. Eventually I told a teacher about the bullying and it stopped and I made two friends.
“When the bullying started again I couldn’t cope and I started self-harming again. I know it’s going to get worse now school has started again because I have to face the bullies again.
“My two friends don’t like to talk to me about ‘difficult emotions’ because it makes them feel uncomfortable, so I literally have no one to talk to.”
We know the reasons behind self-harming can range from bullying to family relationship breakdowns, as well as mental health issues and abuse. It can stem from feeling alone, angry, or not good enough.
But the reasons can also be highly complicated, so a lot of the time a young person may not fully know or understand why they self-harm. When they don’t know why they are hurting themselves, it can be very difficult to find ways of stopping.
For anyone who self-harms, the first step in helping them to understand why they do so is to talk to someone.
Our counsellors are available 24 hours a day, on the phone and online, every day of the year for any child or young person who wants to talk about how they’re feeling.
On the Childline website we offer young people information on self-harming, as well as guidance and coping techniques specifically designed for children and young people who self-harm.
On our website, we also have a huge number of chat boards for young people to talk about how they’re feeling with their peers, to find support among those who can understand because they have gone through the same things themselves.
For free confidential advice and support about any worries, children and young people can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.uk