Try To...Try Not To...

There is lots of different advice out there for how to respond to self-harm. We have put together this resource with some quick tips to help you know which responses may be helpful, and those that might not be so helpful, when supporting someone you are working with who is self-harming.

Try to…

Try not to…

  • Listen
  • Stay calm
  • Ask about how the person is feeling
  • Understand why the person is self-harming
  • Ask how you can help
  • Be sensitive
  • Be reliable
  • Be open and honest about the support you can give
  • Make a plan to cope with difficult feelings
  • Panic
  • Make assumptions
  • Offer to give the person support only under certain conditions (e.g. they stop self-harming)
  • Get angry
  • Force the person to talk
  • Tell your the person to stop self-harming
  • Confiscate your the person’s self-harm equipment
  • Show disappointment if the person continues self-harming

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