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Friends and Family

 

Not everyone can help someone who self harms as it can be a very stressful thing to do. Do not feel guilt about this. You can give what youíve got, thatís just as important. If you feel you can help then here are some helpful suggestions.

 

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It is important to remember that people who self harm are deeply distressed. Donít try to ignore the person (for whatever reason you may do that). Try to be respectful and be the same person they knew beforehand.

 

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Try to make it clear that it is safe to talk about their self harm and their problems with you.

 

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It is important for her to feel comfortable within your relationship. You could try asking questions as well as just letting her/him talk. Doing this shows that you are not just there to listen to her problems. It shows that you are interested in helping.

 

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Try to encourage her/him to recognize the urge to self harm, what has caused it and to find other ways to cope for example exercise, talking, small distractions like watching TV or playing on the computer.

 

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You help her find other sources of support, such as support groups or a therapist.

 

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Acknowledge that stopping self harm instantly could be very hard, if not impossible. It is also not the best way to go about it. Self harm may worsen while exploring feelings and worries, as doing this can be frightening and unsettling. But do not lose hope if this happens.

 

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Remember that sometimes people simply arenít ready to stop their self harm. Remember that it can become a way to survive and to take it away instantly could be very, very unhelpful. Try helping her/him set small, achievable goals, eg: "why not try to get through the next week, or even next day without self harming"