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Recovering from self-harm

Who recovers from self-harm?

It is possible for everyone to learn to live without needing to self-harm, but for some it can be a lengthy and difficult journey. The longer someone harms, the harder it can be to break the pattern of behaviour, but with the right support, understanding and motivation selfharmUK believes it is possible for everyone to find a good place of recovery. An important step forward is making the decision to learn to live without self-harm, and being prepared to face underlying issues that may have caused the behaviours in the first place. No one can make someone ‘get better’. Hiding sharp objects, medicines or anything else thought to be harmful will not stop someone from self-harming unless they want to stop.

Why it can be hard to talk about – for everyone concerned

Self-harm can be difficult to talk about. It can be difficult for sufferers because they may be scared of feeling embarrassed, ashamed or 'told off' for their behaviour, when actually what they’re looking for is support and understanding. It can also be difficult to talk about because it's not always possible for them to put in to words how they feel.

It can be difficult for parents to talk about self-harm because they may not understand it and may have a lot of emotions of their own to deal with when they see that their child is hurting. Being the friend or sibling of someone who self-harms can be hard going, as you try to find ways to help that won’t be too damaging to yourself and your own emotional health.

Who can help?

Unfortunately there are limited resources at the present time. Some may find help and support through an understanding GP, and mental health services can be of help, depending on availability. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service provision varies across the country and waiting lists can be long. CAMHS can be accessed through a referral by your GP, school nurse, teacher, learning mentor, or family worker. There are a number of private Clinical Psychologists and Psychotherapists who may offer specialist support but these can be costly and it’s crucially important to ensure they are recognised by a professional body, e.g. BPS, UKCP, CPC, BACP etc. Sometimes just having someone to listen can make a big difference - it's not always important who is listening, as long as someone is. Some young people will work though their difficulties without needing professionals - everyone is different and everyone will need different levels of support.

Alumina is our online programme for any young person aged 14-18. It lasts for six weeks and provides an opportunity to think differently about self-harm.


Alumina is a free, online 7 week course for young people struggling with self-harm. Each course has up to 8 young people, all accessing the sessions from their own phones, tablets or laptops across the UK. The courses take place on different evenings of the week and are run by friendly, trained counsellors and volunteer youth workers. You don’t need an adult to refer you or sign you up, and no-one will see or hear you during the sessions – you’ll just join in via the chatbox. We want to help you to find your next steps towards recovery, wherever you are on your journey.

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