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Tips for Reducing Self Harm

October 23rd, 2014     by Shilo Silver     Comments

Tips for reducing Self Harm

Self harm comes in many forms, whether it be cutting, burning, biting, or scratching. Although it may help alleviate pain in the moment, it’s important to remember than self injuring behaviour can lead to addiction, permanent scarring that can cost thousands of dollars to remove, and may accidentally cause more serious injuries. In my own experience, self harm helped me get through some of the roughest times in my life, but today none of those issues exist, except for the battle scars across my arms that serve as a permanent reminder of those troubled times. If you find yourself having a hard time reducing the amount of self harm you do, there are a few things you can try.

  1. Distraction

Distract yourself. Most people will tell you that the best way to reduce the amount of self harm you do is to find hobbies and other outlets you can use to distract you from the initial feelings that cause you to do it in the first place.

Things like writing stories, poems or journaling can help immensely, but ultimately you should look for any hobby or activity that can help you get it off your mind.

  1. Simulate self harm

Depending on the method of self harm, there are ways to simulate that feeling without causing unnecessary scars.

Ice cubes - they can simulate the feeling of burning. Simply press one against your skin.

Red markers - This can simulate the look of bleeding. If you decide to try this method, ensure the marker you are using is non-toxic and safe for use on human skin.

Rubber bands -  Can simulate the feeling of cutting. Take the rubber band and stretch it between your thumb and pinkie finger. Use your index finger and thumb of the opposite hand to snap it against your skin.

  1. Hotlines

Getting in touch with people who are experienced with helping people who struggle with self-harm is definitely not an easy task, especially if it is your first time. Fortunately, many mental health hotlines are knowledgeable about self harm, especially if the hotline is for teens. For a list of hotlines, scroll down to the bottom of the article.

  1. Seeking help

Although self harm is not always indicative of underlying problems, it definitely can be. Mental illness, substance abuse, childhood abuse, and bereavement are the main causes of self-harming behaviour. Seeking professional help may help deal with the underlying issue, making it easier to reduce the amount of self-harm you do.


Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line: 1-800-268-9688 Ontario Mental Health Helpline: 1-866-531-2600 Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868

Tags: mental health

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