Replace self-harm with something less harmful
When you feel the urge to harm yourself, try doing something like eating a spicy or sour food, holding an ice cube in your hand, or snapping a rubber band on your wrist. Or you could use a pen to draw on your skin instead of cutting or burning.
Start a journal
Writing down your feelings can help give you a safe outlet to express yourself. It can also help to track when you feel the urge to self-harm, and when you feel good. This can help you become more aware of what your triggers are so you can think about some strategies to cope in a healthier and safer way.
Getting your body moving can lift your mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
Ring or message someone for a chat
Having someone to talk to can help you feel better and you might no longer feel the urge.
Try a distraction
When you feel like you’re about to harm yourself, try doing something else to distract yourself, such as going for a walk, listening to music, drawing, playing a game or even just having a shower.
Reach out for support
It’s easier to cope with tough experiences and emotions when you have support, so try to find someone you trust and feel comfortable with who you can talk to. If you’re not sure where to start, try spending time with people you genuinely like and enjoy, who care about you.
Where to get help
Your GP or a counsellor or psychologist can help you learn problem-solving, communication and coping skills and work with you to develop a plan to stay safe. They’ll help you become more aware of what triggers you and work on strategies to help you cope better.
How to help someone else
If you’re worried that someone you care about is self-harming, it can help to listen as non-judgementally as you can. Reassure them that you’re there for them and encourage them to talk their GP or mental health professional. It’s also important to be patient, it can take some time for someone who is self-harming to stop.
Online resources and support
In addition to in-person services, there is also a number of resources and services you can access online, including:
Beyond Blue has a 24/7 national support line where you can talk with a trained mental health professional who will listen, provide information and advice, and point you in the right direction to seek further help on 1300 22 4636.
headspace provides mental health support and services to young people aged 12 to 25 and their families in person at headspace centres across Australia or by online chat or phone through headspace.org.au.
SANE Australia provides peer support, counselling, information and referrals to adults who identify as having a complex mental health issue, complex trauma or high levels of psychological distress. They also provide support to the family or friends who care about them. Their team of counsellors is available on 1800 18 7263 or email or web chat from 10am to 10pm Monday to Friday AEST. You can also join the community through the moderated SANE Forums 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Our team of mental health professionals are here to support you on our 24/7 Mental Health Phone Support line. It’s available to Medibank members with hospital cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 644 325~.
For more information about self-harm, please visit:
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