7 tell-tale signs that your friend is self-harming and how to help

Listen up, this is important

Self-harm is a very serious and can appear in lots of different ways. They may even not completely understand why they do it, but it’s something that can easily and quickly become a compulsion.

Eve Ainsworth has established herself as a writer who is not afraid to tackle the topics that many others leave well alone – severe bullying, abusive relationships and now with ‘Damage’, self-harm.

Gabi has a secret. She may be confident and popular, but there’s something she can’t tell even her best friend. Gabi has never felt so alone before and a brief impulse turns into something more, something darker. But it’s not long before she learns that not everyone’s hurt is something that you can see.

Self-harm is something that has a stigma attached.

She’s just attention-seeking.

Why is he being so dramatic?

Its essential that it’s spotted as soon as possible so that they can be helped.

You can’t help if you don’t know what to look for.

The Signs

The signs of self-harm can manifest physically and emotionally.

  1. Cuts, bruises and burns on the wrists, arms, thighs and chest.
  2. Wearing long-sleeved tops and jumpers in warm or hot weather.
  3. Bald patches from pulling out hair.
  4. Becoming isolated and withdrawn.
  5. Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  6. Low self-esteem or motivation.
  7. Excessive drinking or taking drugs.

How to Help

It’s a difficult issue to work around and not everybody will react the same. Tread carefully and make sure it’s the right approach for the person you’re trying to help.

  • Show them that you care, that you’re listening.
  • Tell someone you trust that can help. This could be a teacher, a parent or one of the helplines below.
  • Talk to them about it and find out what’s behind it, but don’t push them if they don’t want to.
  • Help them to find a new way to deal with their problems.
  • Be there for them.

Important numbers

  • Childline – 0800 1111
  • NSPCC – 0808 800 5000

And remember, you’re not alone.

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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