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 a loved one who is self-harming.

Try to…

Try not to…

  • Listen
  • Stay calm
  • Ask about how your loved one is feeling
  • Understand why your loved one 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 your loved one support only under certain conditions (e.g. they stop self-harming)
  • Get angry
  • Force your loved one to talk
  • Tell your loved one to stop self-harming
  • Confiscate your loved one’s self-harm equipment
  • Show disappointment if your loved one continues self-harming

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