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How can I tell my friends or family that I self-harm?

34 Answers
Last Updated: 04/19/2021 at 5:54pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Polly Letsch, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I provide non-judgmental, person-centered, objective therapeutic treatment for individuals of all ages to improve social, emotional, mental and other areas of functioning.

Top Rated Answers
September 14th, 2014 3:10pm
Choose a time that your family/friends are not busy & seem calm/stress-free, so it'll be a time that you know they'll be most receptive. Make sure that you feel as calm as possible as well. Tell them you'd like to share a very personal and sensitive matter and ask if it would be a good time to talk. Prepare links or print-outs beforehand that help describe your situation; you can also use these as a way to start the talk or back you up. You could also try to tell them in a letter and then give them the letter--preferably in person--if you feel more comfortable writing about it than talking about it.
October 28th, 2014 4:31am
When I was younger, I sat my mom down one night and just told her straight up that I self-harmed and that I wanted help. Don't feel pressured to tell anyone, but please get help.
November 13th, 2014 10:18pm
For me, my friend asked me how my weekend was. I said that I'd show her. We went into the school bathroom, and I pulled up my sleeves and showed her. Yes, it was very hard and my anxiety levels were off the chart. Yes, we all cried our eyes out. But it was best. Just simply tell them.
November 4th, 2014 7:37am
If it's hard to say it face to face, maybe you could tell them with a letter? I did that and i worked out all fine. Hope you'll feel better soon.
October 24th, 2014 9:25pm
First things first, take a moment to consider how they will react. What is the best scenario you can think of? And the worst one? What is what most probably happen? Make a plan or establish some ways to cope with each posible scenario. With that done, sit down and slowly (at your own pase) let the words come out. Express to them what you feel and what is going on. Be honest, with yourself and with them. If you can be patience, often its not always easy to grasp what goes on in someone else's head. Let them know what you need/want through this and how they can be supportive. If you don't know how to open up or want to practice a posible dialogue you can always reach out to a listener and let them know what you are considering and how they can help you in dealing with this situation.
November 9th, 2014 12:41pm
If you have any friends that selfharmed themselves, you can tell them first because the so-called doorstep is lower for you to tell them, because you can know they'll understand. Then you can move on to other friends. I'm sure they'll try to help you the best they can. The same thing for your family. You don't have to tell everyone though, you can tell the people you trust the most.
May 7th, 2015 2:19am
When I told my parents that I had been self harming I found it easier to write a letter to them, and then try and talk about afterwards and answer questions they may have. It was scary, but I was glad I did it
September 8th, 2015 6:35pm
Perhaps it would be easiest to write a letter, email or even a little text to the people you are closest too and trust the most or maybe you could tell your parents that you are struggling and need to tell them something. I think it's like getting into cold water; you need to do it quickly without thinking. Your family and friends will understand. Don't worry!
September 28th, 2015 6:17pm
From personal experience I can tell you, telling someone is the hardest part. The anxiety and fear of not being accepted or being judged can become overwhelming. I'll be honest though. Once you tell someone, it becomes 100x easier. You now have people who support you and will help you. Id recommend starting with a close family member or friend you trust. Tell them you have been struggling and that you need and/or want help. When you're ready, they can even help you tell other family members or friends you are more hesitant to tell.
October 10th, 2016 2:41pm
You just have to be straight about it, just get your mom or dad or anyone around a table and tell them you need help because you self-harm. Or just text them if it makes you super anxious to tell them face-to-face. It's not going to be an easy task but I guarantee you will feel better after you tell them.
September 23rd, 2014 10:16pm
Approach them when you feel most comfortable, when you feel you're all at ease. Be serious and open.
April 11th, 2015 8:22am
You can express to them in a letter what you gotta say to them and hand it to them when you're ready to tell them if youre not ready to say it face to face, I know it can be hard. Otherwise, if youre up for it, you can always try practicing in the mirror what youre going to say to friends/family when you tell them and be mindful what their reactions may be and be ready for it. Stay strong remember! :)
September 17th, 2018 6:00pm
Telling someone you self harm can be extremely scary but it's a good step towards healing as it's always great to have some support ❤️Choose someone you trust, practise what you want to say privately first and then just talk to them ❤️ Sometimes it's easier to start with a letter and then speak to them in person. In the beginning don't share graphic details that might scare them and also be prepared for them to ask questions as it is likely this will be unexpected and they might be shocked and may not understand it at first.
October 24th, 2014 3:29am
This one is never easy, but the best thing to do would to be tp sit them down and tell them striaght forward dont try to sugar coat it or anything
November 3rd, 2014 5:00am
The best way to tell your loved ones about your problem is to be mature, calm, and patient. You need to tell them directly, without beating around the bush, and be prepared for them to freak out a little. It's a big deal, although it may not seem like it to you. But you have to stay calm and rational, help them understand that you have a problem and you need help. Also, before you tell someone, make sure you know that they will be respectful and that they won't use this information against you.
July 21st, 2015 1:31am
It may help to tell a trusted parent first, then the rest accordingly, because the reaction will probably be worse if they just find out rather than them being told.
July 4th, 2016 12:44am
Sit them down in a place that you're comfortable in and tell them that you've been having some problems with your emotional state which led to the want and/or need to self harm.
August 16th, 2016 8:51am
Well think about who to tell specifically and how they would react. It's a good thing to find help
August 29th, 2016 3:40am
It might be helpful to wait until you feel safe/comfortable in a situation and then tell them that you would like to discuss a serious topic and hope they can keep an open mind and that you are looking for help.
November 20th, 2017 7:43am
You could approach them gently and tell them you have something you need to talk about. Gather them all together so they can all listen, and explain what you did and why so they understand.
October 24th, 2014 9:43pm
go to them and speak up generally what self harm is and then open up your verdict that you do self harm and the reason for it am sure they'll understand and help you out..
October 26th, 2014 4:29pm
Telling them outright after sitting them down to talk I found the best way. Having lots of resources prepared to give to them about self-harm can be helpful though as however they react, they have something to look at when they have given it some thought. Information that can dispel myths and give helpline numbers to friends and family of people that self-harm can help.
October 27th, 2014 8:09pm
Being honest is key, and it's good to let people who are important in your life know what's going on with you. Tell them why you self-harm, what triggers you to do this, and if you need help, tell them this. Most people are more than willing to help when you approach them honestly and tell them how you're feeling.
October 29th, 2014 4:25am
Talk to them one by one. Find a place where you feel comfortable and approach the topic at ur peace.
October 29th, 2014 11:49am
I might not give the best advice, but the way I told my friends was during a time we were all serious, and I sort of whispered it. Don't be afraid. The most probable reaction is them understanding.
October 31st, 2014 8:13pm
Telling a family member or friends that you self harm is a tough thing to do. You just have to tell them so you can get then help you need.
November 13th, 2014 1:57am
Just sit down with them in private and explain what happened. If you don't think you can talk about it, write them a note. It's hard, but it's worth it.
November 15th, 2014 12:02am
Well maybe if you feel like telling them face to face is eally difficult you can write them down a letter with all your feelings so they will understand you so much better and they will support you. Anyway you always have amazing listeners to talk in here if you need to :)
April 12th, 2015 5:53pm
I am wondering if it would be worth going to see your doctor around this situation. Maybe the doctor could put you in touch with a professional who could help you with explaining this to your family and friends. I hear that you are being brave around this situation in wanting to tell your friends and family. Can you tell me why it is that you are wanting to let your friends and family into this part of your life?
May 1st, 2015 2:06pm
First, you need to know to who you can trust and who is not going to judge you because you do what you do. It's hard to tell someone such a big secret but once you do, it's going to get a lot better because you'll be able to get help. So you need to tell them that you want to get help.