Looking After Yourself

Having conversations with anyone about their mental health can be extremely difficult. Self-harm in particular can be a very difficult and emotional topic to discuss. Supporting someone who self-harms can be very stressful and can take a toll on our mental health and wellbeing. We have put together these tips on how to look after yourself while you are supporting someone who self-harms.

Supporting someone who self-harms can bring up a range of emotions such as sadness, anger, frustration, disgust and guilt. When having conversations about self-harm with the person you are supporting, it is important to keep their feelings at the centre of the
conversation. However, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore your feelings or try to push them down. It is important for you to have someone you can talk to about these feelings to help you stay safe, mentally well and to be able to continue to support the person who is

Supporting someone who is self-harming can be a long process with many ups and downs, and we might feel that we need to commit to being there for every step. Having an open, realistic conversation with the person about how and when you can support them will be helpful for the person you are supporting, and will also help to keep yourself safe and mentally well.

There are lots of different steps on the recovery journey, and the journey will look different
for each person who self-harms. You may want to be the person who supports the person through every step on their journey, but sometimes that is not possible. There may come a time on their journey where they need support from someone else, or it’s a part of the journey that you just can’t help with. Knowing the limitations of what you can realistically do to support the person who is self-harming will not only help them to get the right support, but will allow you to feel comfortable in the level of support that you can give.

It is really important that you have a support system in place to help you as you support the person who is self-harming. This could be a supervisor, a manager, colleagues, or even professional support. There are lots of helpful resources and information available for those supporting people who self-harm, and there are organisations that are there to give you support and someone to talk to.

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