Understanding self-harm booklet

Understanding self-harm booklet-thumbnail

This 17-page guide from the mental health charity Mind offers comprehensive information on self-harm, including possible causes, ways to manage urges, and avenues for support. It explains self-harm is often used to cope with difficult experiences or overwhelming emotions. The link between self-harm and mental health problems like depression is discussed.

Practical self-help tips are provided like using distractions, understanding triggers, and building self-esteem. Reaching out to others, looking after general wellbeing, and replacing self-harm with alternatives like creativity are encouraged. Guidance is offered on talking to a GP about self-harm and accessing counselling or support groups. The importance of non-judgemental understanding from loved ones is emphasized.

The guide stresses that while self-harm can be someone’s way of managing pain, it does carry risks so finding other coping strategies is wise. However, its compassionate tone acknowledges the various reasons underlying self-harm and validates it as an attempt to survive distress.

Quotes from individuals’ lived experience provide additional insights. Tips help loved ones know what to say and how to promote safety without taking away the person’s control. Additional resources and helplines provide further support.

Overall the guide promotes a harm reduction approach, empowering those who self-harm with compassion, practical advice and options for professional help. By increasing understanding, it aims to reduce stigma and isolation.


What is self-harm?
Why do people harm themselves?
How can I help myself now?
How can I help myself in the future?
What support and treatment is available?
What can friends and family do to help?
Useful contacts