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Self Harm If you or someone you know is struggling with self harm and needs advice or alternatives, we're here to help.

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Friends self harming. - January 2nd 2012, 10:50 PM

A friend from a school I go to recently confided in me about her self harming and suicidal thoughts, shes a quiet girl who generally goes around unnoticed by the rest of the school. I was recently made head of the Anti-bullying campaign, and after one of the assembly's she asked to talk to me. When she told me I didn't know what to say, self harm or suicide is something I've never crossed before. But this girl is probably one of the nicest people I've ever met, and she reached out to me, therefore I really want to help her. I'm meeting her after school on Wednesday and I was wondering if anyone could help me with what to say, or do. Because I really have no idea?
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Re: Friends self harming. - January 2nd 2012, 11:21 PM

Hi there

Firstly you sound like a lovely person. I think it's great you're involved in an anti- bullying campaign and I also think it's lovely that you want to help your friend.

The best advice I can give you, is just simply to be there for her. Let her know you care and that she can get through this. Let her talk to you about what's going on and how she is feeling if she wants to talk to you about this. Of course, if you feel like she is at immediate risk I do also encourage you to tell someone. For example, if she tells you she has plans to attempt to end her life. I know it can be hard to pass that information on, especially when it is you she has confined in and trusted but her safety needs to be put first too. Perhaps you could also encourage her to get some help such as seeing her doctor or even talking to a teacher within school or seeing the school nurse/counselor and you can even offer to go with her for some moral support. I also thought it might be good for you to print this list of alternatives to self harm off for her.

Just remember to look after yourself in this too. Being there for someone can be hard and only take it as much as you can handle; don't make yourself ill over it. And remember that at the end of the day she's in control of what she does. You can't physically stop her from hurting herself, you can just try your best to be there.

I hope this helps, take good care of yourself.

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Re: Friends self harming. - January 2nd 2012, 11:31 PM


I'm so glad that you care about your friend, and the anti-bullying campaign.

I agree with Jessie that it is a good idea to be there for your friend. She is definitely not alone now that she has you there for her. Be a good listener and as open-minded as possible when she does tell you what is going on, because sometimes a person needs a friend and a good listener. Let her know that you are there for her whenever she needs it. If you think that she is in immediate danger with her suicidal thoughts, like if she tells you that she has a plan, tell someone, because her safety is definitely important, and her life is more important than a secret. Having her open up to someone was definitely a really great first step for her, and I am so glad that she has a friend like you there to support her through this.

Take care,

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Re: Friends self harming. - January 2nd 2012, 11:33 PM

Hey there Shan!

Firstly, welcome to TeenHelp! I hope you're finding your way around the site ok and it's good to see you posting in the forums

I think it's really great that you want to help your friend out, and it's good that you've come here trying to find some ways to do that.

What i can say, is that your friend must be hurting a lot for her to feel the need to turn to self harm. Something you could try doing is talking to her about why she's feeling that way and what's going on in her life that's lead her to use self harm as a way of coping. She might not find it easy to talk about, so try to give her space if sheís finding it difficult. Probably the most important thing you can do is make sure she feels she can trust you, and try to keep whatever she tells you confidential. Writing down how youíre feeling can also be a really great way to express yourself so maybe thatís also something you could suggest?

Another thing which might be a good idea is encouraging her to eventually confide in someone else who can help her further and offer more support. This could be a teacher, gp, her parents, a school counsellor etc. Depending on who she talks to, certain people may be able to keep what she talks about confidential. Perhaps you could offer to go with her? If she went to speak to her gp, they would generally keep whatever she says confidential regardless of age, unless she was at serious risk.

If your friend is wanting to stop self harming, you could suggest she tries distractions or alternatives when she gets the urge to self harm. Hereís TeenHelps list of alternatives to self harm, maybe you could print it off for her or write a few down? It would be good to explain to her that she may need to try a few from the list before she finds one that works for her.

One more thing you could try is suggesting she calls a helpline or comes on here for some more support, I know that thereís lots of people on here who would be willing to help her, me being one of them.

Finally, something thatís really important is that you ensure you take care of yourself as well. Itís important that you donít overburden yourself with whatís going on and that you speak to someone yourself if you think it will help.

You sound like a really lovely person for helping out your friend,
I hope something Iíve said has helped,

Take care

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Re: Friends self harming. - January 2nd 2012, 11:34 PM

Hey there,

You are obviously a really good friend by wanting to help this girl, and I want to make sure you know that. Especially if you've never gone through something like depression or self harm before, it can be very difficult to hear that somebody as kind as your friend can be hurting, and even harder to know what to do about it.

I would be there for her when she needs to talk. Obviously, she has gone to you and only you for help, at first, I would just be there to listen. You don't understand everything that she's going through, but that's okay. Being there for her just to be somebody safe that she can go to is a hug step. Next, I would encourage her to talk to somebody else, somebody professional who can get her help. Remember: You cannot force her to get help. But being that you are her safe place, she is much more likely to listen to you and take the advice. Also remember not to tell others about her secrets. This is her life, and she can choose who she tells. If you think things are getting out of control, that is the time to tell a guidance counselor, or an adult you trust. But until then, try to be there for her, and do things under her control as well.

For anymore information, I would also suggest you check out this TeenHelp article about having a loved one who self harms. I hope she is able to quit, and your friendship is able to grow from there!

Stay strong,

I said to the sun, "Tell me about the big bang"
& the sun said ďit hurts to become."
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Re: Friends self harming. - January 3rd 2012, 12:03 AM

Thank you all so much for replying! Everybody is so nice here! I'm printing of the list and article right now to show her. I've been searching the forums too, and I think I'm going to try and get her to do the butterfly project. She was very against telling anyone, and I'm really going to try and get her to tell our form teacher. thank you all so much for replying, this has been eating me up for days, but I don't feel as worried anymore. x
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Re: Friends self harming. - January 3rd 2012, 12:54 PM

Hi There,

When you talk to someone that has these thoughts you can't judge them if you judge them they might not open up again to you or anyone else. Sometimes people in that kind of situation benefit from knowing that there not alone. Tell her that you are there for her if shes needs to talk. Its may take awhile to build the type of relationship where she is comfortable talking to you. Don't get mad at her for something that she says such as "I cut again" "I overdosed last night" because if you show it she might get scared and again might not open up again.

Please feel free to PM me if you need anything.

I will say that if she is getting worse and not better I would encourage you to talk to a school official and tell them what going on.
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