Skip to main contentSkip to main content

How to tell someone about self-harm

It can be difficult to know how to talk to your friends, family or a health professional about self-harm. But many people feel more supported and less alone after talking to someone.

Tips to help you tell someone about self-harm


  • find someone you can trust – such as a close friend, family member, trained volunteer, health or other professionals

  • decide on the right time or place to talk to someone – it may feel easier to write something down, talk online or call and practise what you want to say first

  • let the person know that what you're sharing may be a shock to them, but you're looking for help – ask to continue the conversation another time if the other person feels distressed or you're interrupted

  • try to talk honestly and openly – be clear about how you're feeling, why you're asking for help and things they may be able to do

  • let the other person ask questions – but do not feel you have to answer them all right now

  • decide if you want to show the other person any injuries or scars – if you're talking to a health professional they may want to check if you need treatment


Further information and support

The mental health charity Mind has more information on their website about: