There is a myth that those who self harm are seeking attention; on the contrary, people who self harm are known to keep their actions private. Common reasons such as shame or fear prevent the individual from asking for help; this is why an important factor into supporting people who self harm is knowing how to support them. Approaching the issue may seem daunting, but by breaking it down into individual steps we can learn how to provide self harm help to assist an individual towards recovery.

Ultimately, it is important to know what self harm is. Research is crucial if you want to spot the signs and take correct action. Conduct research into the issue or speak to an expert whether it be your own GP or a helpline. By understanding the problem you are one step closer to assisting the young person to solve it.

This then leads to supporting yourself and dealing with the emotions that you might experience when faced with information on this subject. Discovering someone you care about, such as your child or friend, is self harming will no doubt come as a shock. This is why being honest about your own feelings is important to becoming stronger for the person you are trying to help. By no means will it be easy, but by slowly overcoming your shock you can learn to instil strength and hope into the person who self harms.

Discovering why an individual chooses to self harm is a crucial step towards recovery, and it is therefore important to remain supportive rather than judgmental. Issues such as bullying, abuse or stress are just some of the reasons someone can resort to this habit. Self harm is sometimes the only outlet an individual chooses to deal with life's obstacles. Yet criticising or blaming the individual will only reverse the recovery process and cause them to retreat further into their shell. Again research and knowledge and raising your self harm awareness into the causes of self harm will provide an opportunity to better understand the issues which surround it and demonstrate to the person that you are there to help them.

This leads to the final point, simply being there for someone. Self harm is not something people readily talk about, even with the gravity of its implications. Regardless of why someone takes part in this act, it is still destructive and must be treated. By encouraging and empowering the individual, you can guide and support them into understanding other practical, harmless and healthier ways to relieve their emotional pain and distress.

Author's Bio: 

Jennifer McLeod is Group Managing Director of Step Up! International,Creator of the Easy Tiger Parent System,Creator of the Born To Win!

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