Assessment and treatments
If you talk to a health professional such as a GP about self-harm, they'll listen and discuss the best options for you. This could include self-help or support groups. They can also give you advice and treatment for minor injuries.
A GP may also offer you an assessment with a local community mental health team (CMHT).
This assessment is so the team can help you find the right treatment and support to reduce or stop your self-harm.
What happens during a self-harm assessment
During an assessment for self-harm, you may be asked about:
- what may have led to your self-harm
- how you feel afterwards
- your relationships and living arrangements
- anything you've tried to help reduce your self-harm
- whether you think you'll self-harm again
- whether you have thoughts of ending your life
If an assessment suggests that support and treatment would be helpful, your care team will discuss the best options with you.
If the team does not feel that treatment is necessary, they can also offer advice on self-help or ways to manage the underlying causes.
Your care plan
Psychological therapy (talking therapy)
Your care team may recommend a talking therapy, which can be helpful after self-harm.
There are lots of different types of talking therapy, including:
- cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
- dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)
- mentalisation-based therapy (MBT)
All types of talking therapy involve working with a trained therapist who will keep your feelings and experiences confidential.
Therapy sessions may be 1-to-1, in a group, online, over the phone, with your family, or with your partner.
Read more about types of talking therapy.
There can be waiting times for treatment, which can also vary depending on which type of therapy is recommended.
Your care team should give you emergency contact details in case you need to speak to them during or after your care.
Specialists involved in your care
During your assessment or treatment you may speak to mental health professionals including:
- a social worker
- an occupational therapist
- a counsellor – somebody trained in talking therapies
- a community mental health nurse – a nurse with specialist training in mental health conditions
- a psychiatrist – a qualified medical doctor with further training in treating mental health conditions
- a psychologist or psychological therapist – a health professional who specialises in the assessment and treatment of mental health conditions by helping you talk and express your feelings
You may see other specialists if your care team thinks it could help to address an underlying cause of your self-harm.
For example, you may be referred to:
- a specialist bereavement counsellor for help coping with bereavement
- someone trained in dealing with victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse
- a specialist in eating disorders if you have anorexia nervosa or bulimia
You may also be recommended a self-help group, such as:
Further information and support
The mental health charity Mind has more information on its website about treatment and support for self-harm.