How friends and family can help

Friends and family often provide the most valuable support. People who self-harm often feel very isolated and despairing. Knowing that others are there for them and care about them, despite what they are doing to themselves, can make all the difference.

Of course, if the person has seriously harmed themselves or their life is in danger you must get help as soon as possible, even if they have asked you to respect their secrecy. If you accompany someone to a hospital accident and emergency department, try to make sure that the professionals involved take the incident seriously. Some follow-up care should always be offered. If not, you should ask about it.