What’s on

  • No events scheduled. Please check again later.

Supporting someone who self-harms

What is Self-harm?

Self-harm is generally thought to affect between 1 in 12 and 1 in 15 young people at some point (11-25 year olds). More recent evidence suggests that it might affect as many as 20% of young people. Self-harm is a coping strategy used to help manage difficult feelings, experiences and emotions. It is important to recognise that self-harm is different for everyone – for some, it relieves stress whilst for others, it can be used to make a person feel ‘real’ and connect them with their body.

Some young people say it can be very difficult to stop and it can add to distress they already feel. It is important to talk to someone you trust if self-harm affected you – a friend, family member, GP. 42nd Street supports lots of young people who use self-harm to cope. Get in touch.

Check out our leaflet for more info:  42nd Street Eating Disorders and Self Harm leaflet June 2017 This leaflet includes a range of helplines, online support information.

Who’s helping Alex?

This short film was created by young people at 42nd Street as part of the Alex project. This project was set up to enable young people who have experience of self-harm or support someone who does to have a voice and speak out about self-harm. This film explores both the unhelpful things often said to young people who use self-harm as a coping strategy and identifies ways in which parents, friends, carers and professionals can begin to better support young people.


42nd Street has published a number of books about self-harm, collaborating with young people who have been affected and researchers: http://42ndstreet.org.uk/training-publications/

The Mental Health Foundation, Truth about self harm,  for young people and their friends and families. This guide has been updated a re-released to mark Self-harm Awareness Day 2016.