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Getting support for self-harming or self-mutilating behaviors is an important step on the road to recovery. Self-harm support comes in many different forms, and it can help you understand the thoughts and emotions behind your behavior, as well as help you learn new coping strategies that can help you deal with intense emotions, stress, or frustration in positive ways. Some of the best ways to reach out for help are to talk to friends and family members, counselors or therapists, or join support groups either online or in person.
Many people who cut or harm themselves in other ways are very secretive about the things they do. One of the first steps in seeking out support for self-harm is to tell someone else about your problem. Let them know you’d like their support and help in reaching out for additional help to stop your harmful behaviors. Choose a person you’re very comfortable with, such as a family member, close friend, or teacher and focus on telling them about your actions, as well as the feelings and thoughts you have about the situation. Often simply breaking the silence and secrecy can help you focus on why you harm yourself and give you the beginnings of the support network you’ll need to recover.
While some individuals are able to get all the self-harm support they need to stop cutting or hurting themselves through a support network of family members and friends, many others need the help of a trained therapist or psychologist to help them through this difficult time. If you’ve tried to identify the emotions that trigger you to harm yourself and have focused on implementing positive responses to your feelings, such as exercising, practicing relaxation techniques, or writing about your feelings, but are still harming yourself, professional help may provide the extra help you need to stop. A trained therapist can continue to offer you support and help you overcome negative feelings or past experiences that lead you to hurt yourself through behavioral therapy and helping you focus on the underlying reasons for your problem.
Self-harm support groups can provide an excellent outlet for you to talk about your feelings and remind yourself that you’re not alone. You can find local self-harm support groups by talking with therapists and mental health centers in your area. If there aren’t any in-person groups near you or you simply don’t feel comfortable talking in front of a group in person, many self-harm support websites offer chat or message board features for people who self-harm to talk to each other and offer support.
Many people who engage in self-harming behaviors are not trying to kill themselves. Still, it’s better to err on the side of caution. If you or someone you know is displaying suicidal actions, thoughts, or words, reach out for help immediately. Many countries have national suicide hotlines available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you’re unsure how to reach a suicide hotline or helpline in your area and you need immediate assistance, contact local emergency service authorities or reach out to a hospital emergency department.