Advice on Self-Harm From a Community Psychiatric Nurse
Community Psychiatric Nurse, Team Leader – Georgina Cadby-Fisher, who has been working in mental health for 3 years has written an advice piece on how to spot the signs and provide support to somebody who is self-harming.
What is self-harm?
Signs of potential self-harm:
There are not always obvious signs that somebody close to you may have begun self harming. But there are some signs you can look out for:
- Unexplained cuts, bruises or burns
- Wearing more clothing than usual to cover any evidence of self harm
- Changes in eating or becoming secretive/obsessive about eating
- Unusual weight loss or weight gain
So why do people self-harm?
There are many reasons people self-harm, such as being bullied, stress, bereavement, experiencing a form of abuse whether that’s sexual, physical or emotional.
- If people are angry, self-harming can be a form of release of pent up anger or emotion
- Self-harm can be a form of control for people if they feel they have no control over other aspects of their life
- It can be for psychological reasons such as hearing voices that tell them to do it
Advice for people living with somebody that self-harms
Living with somebody or watching people close to you self harm can be difficult and distressing but there are things you can do to help:
- Listen to them in a judgement free way and let them know that you care about them
- Encourage them to access support such as: Samaritans or Mind
- Make sure you look after yourself too and seek help if you need it from places such as: National Self Harm Networks Forums or Young Minds Parent Helpline