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How can we get support people who self-harm and don't want to quit?

21 Answers
Last Updated: 06/04/2018 at 9:37pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Brenda King, PsyD


I treat life changes, women’s issues, and issues of aging using evidence-based treatments with healthy doses of warmth, empathy and humor to enhance healing and growth.

Top Rated Answers
September 14th, 2014 6:46pm
We can tell them the ways in which they may be able to minimise the damage.Or find less dangerous methods of self harm.We can also tell them when they might need to seek additional support and how to stay safe.This link is very good
October 24th, 2014 9:15pm
Self- harm is very personal and if someone that does it has the courage to speak up about it and reach out to you, it mostly means they trust you a lot and hope to get support from you without being judge. Offering support is not always easy specially when you are concern that they are doing something unhealthy but the thing is that it has to be there choice when and how to stop. You can support them by listening to them and what they say, by validating them and there emotions, by offering compassion and letting them know its okay that they are just as valuable with those scars on their body than without them. Let them work at there own pase and be willing to back them up when they are ready to try alternatives but don't add extre pressure. Just be empathy and yourself, if you care about them it will show and thats more powerful than one thinks :)
November 13th, 2014 1:43am
Try and give them someone to talk to, i.e. you. Tell them you're worried and that you care. Support is what is most important.
May 22nd, 2015 2:28am
I currently self hard and have been struggling with this since I was just a child , it started it biting , then pulling my hair out , then punch myself to make bruises , and to now . . . cutting . I haven't been cutting for long , about 3 years , I tell myself I'm better than that , but really , there's no other way to handle my anger . Honestly , I don't want to quit . I've gotten support by the help of friends talking to me about their problems that way I know I'm not alone or that I'm lucky compared to what others go through . I have to look at things through a half full glass instead of half empty . And learn to love myself , because I was made this way for a reason , I'm beautiful with and without scars . My scars just tell a story .
June 17th, 2015 1:43am
You just support them. You honestly don't know what they are going through. You just have to support.
September 21st, 2014 7:35am
we can support them by just being there when times are hard for them and trying to find out what the core problem is which can take time but hopefully if you get to the core problem and discuss it the self harm could reduce until they just stop.
November 23rd, 2015 2:45pm
I used to self-harm, and I still have trouble staying away from it, even though I haven't self-harmed in 6 months and 23 days,but imagining my best friend suffering from it hurts me even more than resisting the urge. One of the hardest parts, in my opinion, of staying clean is missing the sight of my blood or even seeing my scars fade away. My biggest advice to you? Never ever cut yourself, and do what you need, within reason, to stay away from harmful objects and to stay clean. If you need someone then feel free to talk to me. Don't you dare forget the sun.
December 22nd, 2015 7:07am
Very complicated topic. If they are talking to you about it then it means they want to be heard. Ultimately people want to be happy and all who self harm know that won't help them. For a better explanation, think of self harm as an addiction, because it is, and compare it to alcoholism, some alcoholics may not want to quit, but they know if they don't then they will suffer severe damage to their bodies. How do we help? We help them realize the root of the problem, and from there we also help them get back on the road to happiness.
December 29th, 2014 9:15pm
Well if someone doesn't want to quit you can't make them. All you can do is be there for them. I'm a cutter and for a long time I didn't want the help. Until the person wants the help they won't get the help. You just have to be there for them and show them that you care for them.
October 24th, 2014 9:46pm
we can support them by analysing their reasoning behind the act of self harm and find alternate ways for them to work out the solution for the reason
October 25th, 2014 1:35am
I think that its important to show those who self-harm and don't want to quit that there are resources available to help them, and that they don't have to face their struggle alone. To that end, we should support them and help them to discover the issues leading to their self-harm.
November 9th, 2014 3:05pm
Give them love and support. Tell them that you're here for them. Give them advice. Tell them that life is so much more and they shouldn't cut.
November 14th, 2014 10:54am
As people acting in the person's best interest, there is nothing we can do that doesn't compromise their autonomy. We can encourage them to seek help, we can bring the help to their doorstep, but we can't force help upon someone who doesn't want it. Involuntary commitment can only be done if their life is in immediate danger or if they have the immediate intention of harming someone else. All we can do is be supportive of them, let them know help is available, make help as easy as we can to find, and realize that we've done all we can.
November 16th, 2014 10:26pm
If they don't want to quit, its not your business to make them quit; all you can do is listen to their emotions and the reasons behind their self harm, and try to support them as best you can. Other than that you should try to direct them to coping methods which may be less dangerous than what they're doing, even if it means other forms of self harm. Ultimately though, I feel its important to recognize that people who self harm do so as a means of coping with some pretty powerful emotions, you need to deal with the cause, not the effect.
May 20th, 2015 9:17am
Sometimes they need to see the true gravity of what they are doing to themselves, like an intervention. It may also be a good idea to find some alternatives, which can be found on the self help guides on this website. I understand that their self harming may cause them some relief for a small period of time, but it can have really bad effects on the body and this is something they really need to know about.
July 6th, 2015 7:44pm
simply being there for them and them knowing you love them is very helpful. It's an addiction that is extremely hard to break. dont judge them. show how much you care and be there for them if they are going to self harm.Many of the times it;s because he or she is feeling lonely
December 21st, 2015 9:55pm
depends on what you mean by "get". you can "give" those who self harm support - there are many websites and helpful forms, even on here that can help you, or others as you help someone who is harming.
July 11th, 2016 7:55pm
We can talk them through. We can show them alternatives to their behaviour and show them empathy and love
February 20th, 2017 7:16am
Treat them like they matter. They will eventually feel well again and not feel the need to self harm. As a past self harmer, I understand the addiction, so you just have to be there for them. Give them time.
July 24th, 2017 1:54pm
Self-harm is a tricky subject and I think it's important to explore the intent behind why they want to self-harm. Not everyone who self-harms is thinking of suicide. A lot of time it's because they find relief and reduce tension or to experience a feeling of control. Exploring the feelings behind the act helps us to gain a greater insight into why they enjoy the feeling of self-harm and don't want to quit. Validating those feelings is a good first step if they're not yet ready to explore other alternatives.
June 4th, 2018 9:37pm
Give them as much support as we can and show compassion. They have taken the first step by talking with someone, and that is amazing.