Trust Jack Foundation

                                            putting mental heath first


We aim to raise awareness of mental health issues to young people and parents and to raise funds to support young people in their recovery


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Trust Jack Foundation

PO Box 19151

Larkhall, ML9 9AG

Phone: 07981 953794

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What is Self Harm

The Symptoms

What are the Causes of Self Harm?

Self Help


Seeking Help for Your Injury

Self Harm

What is Self Harm?

Self harm is when someone intentionally damages or injures their body; it is a way of dealing with, and expressing very deep distress. It can also be to punish themselves or to relieve unbearable tension. It can in some cases be a tool for survival as they feel on some level that they intend to die so they self harm to prevent themselves from suicide.

 Most people who self harm are not trying to die by suicide, psychiatrists believe that people who self harm generally use it as a survival mechanism, as a way to express emotion they cannot speak about and to keep suicidal impulses at bay.

What are the Causes of Self Harm?

In many cases people feel unnoticed, unloved and numb. They decide that pain is a better alternative to their emptiness.

There can be many reasons that they take the step to self harm, it can be:

The Symptoms

Self Harm can be done by different forms such as:

All of these can in some cases end in death or disability.

In Scotland there are over 7000 people treated in hospital each year for non fatal self harm. However there are many more that don't go to the hospital to get treatment from a medical service.

The typical age that people self harm is between 16 and 25 years old, however it can be any age and it affects both men and women. Men usually self harm when they find they lose power of their own life such as if they end up in prison, whereas many young women self harm due to emotional problems. Women are also three times more likely to self harm when they feel angry or upset.

Self harm mostly happens at home and can be a sign of low self esteem and powerlessness and loss of control in their lives. Self harm in not in any way attention seeking as it's done very privately and it's a last resort for many young people.

It is commonly thought that everyone that self harms must have a mental illness but in fact they don't but it is very common amongst people who have depression, personality disorders, eating disorders and alcohol and drug dependency.

Self Help

If you want to make a good recovery self help is very important as no one else can do it except you. You have to learn about yourself and believe in yourself. A good place to start in your self help journey would be:

The most important thing is to learn to recognise the thoughts and feelings that lead you to self harm and interrupt them; this will help break the cycle.


To get professional treatment you have to go to your GP and they will ask you some questions to see if you have an underlying mental health illness such as depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder or if you self harm follow a particular behaviour such as an eating disorder.  The results will determine the best treatment and support you need. Your GP will then refer you to the appropriate specialist for treatment. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is often recommended for people who self harm. Your therapist will talk to you about your thoughts and feelings and how they affect your behaviour and wellbeing.  Evidence suggests that CBT works very well with people who self harm.

Seeking Help for Your Injury

Some physical injuries may need treatment by either going to an A&E department or a walk in centre such as:

In these cases you may be referred for further assessments by the local community nursing service.

 In emergencies you may even need to call 999 such as

If you have arrived at the hospital after a 999 call you will be assessed by a psychiatric nurse before you leave the hospital.

NHS Choices - Eating Disorders