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How do I help someone I care about from self-harming?

27 Answers
Last Updated: 04/12/2021 at 8:43am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Halayma Khatun, M.A Theology(U.K, UAE), Diploma With Distinction in Counseling, Certification trauma abandonment


Compassionate, patient, experienced depression counselor. I use Psychodynamic counseling techniques. My counseling experience is +8 years, I counsel women.

Top Rated Answers
July 21st, 2015 10:34am
It would be good first of all to learn more yourself about self harming and the reasons and emotions often behind it in order to gain a better understanding. The 7 Cups of Tea Self Harm help guide is a great resource for this, as well as other website online. Don't Judge the person, don't tell them they must stop, or guilt them in to stopping by telling them how they are hurting others ect it may just make the self harming worse. Self harm is a coping mechanism, changing that behaviour and learning new coping techniques takes time. Don't accuse them of attention seeking, there are many reasons why people self harm, and although yes, attention can be a component for some people, it's important to remember that even if you think it may be for attention that this person is still in pain and needs your support and calling them an attention seeker can very negatively impact on them. Ask the person how you can best help them and what support they need from you. Don't focus too much on the self harm itself, but the issues why they are self harming. Sometimes simply being a listening ear can help. It's ok not to know what to say or to have all the answers, but being there for them is the best thing you can do. Don't try and push a course of action on to them, but do let them know of helplines and services out there that can help, again the 7 Cups of Tea Self Harm self help guide is a great place to start, as well as local therapists and their doctor amongst other things. Don't pressure them to try these options, but just to know they are there can be helpful. If you feel the self harm is too serious, their wounds need medical attention or they are in serious immediate danger, be honest with them and tell them you need to let someone know in order to help them, and that you would like to go with them if they would like that. And lastly, get some help with this yourself. Finding out someone close to you is self harming can be shocking and hurtful to you yourself. Take care of your own thoughts of this, perhaps with a close friend (being mindful of the persons confidentiality) or with us here on 7 Cups of Tea.
April 25th, 2015 1:01pm
Having someone that you care about that is dealing with self harm is a very hard thing to go through, even more when you two are very close, if this is something that you have been thinking about and are wanting to help that person during their difficult time there are a few things that you might think about doing to support them as well as a few things that might not be so helpful. Please refer to these links for extra support: and/or
April 29th, 2015 11:37am
Firstly you should talk about it with them and try to make it clear that it is not good for them and it doesn't help them. Then you can suggest another way in order to stop self-harming like the butterfly project. Remind them you care about them and you want them to be ok.
May 29th, 2015 3:52pm
You have to make sure that your friend is willing to quit self-harm, otherwise, you can't help them. Once you know if they are willing to quit, tell them how much you love them, and show them how much you do.
June 17th, 2015 7:11pm
The best way to help someone is to be there for them, make sure they know you are there to talk to or just to have their back. Letting them know they have someone will make them feel better, and help them with their recovery.
January 14th, 2015 6:11pm
All you can really do is listen to them and their reasons, reassure them that they are better than that and that you are there for them. Also, try to keep the conversation going to keep them occupied.
January 16th, 2015 4:44pm
When someone I care about is self harming them the only thing I can do is to talk to them. I can not convince them to stop doing that, but I can just listen to them. I've been listening my friends and people who were not my friends but now they are, and they are just doing fine. Music usually helps, tea helps too. I just sit with them and talk to them, telling my past struggles whenever they say they aren't going out of the hole. Because empathy is something everybody needs, and helping someone is hard but worth.
February 16th, 2015 8:00pm
oh dear , You are defintly like me ! You have to talk with your friend seriosly and tel him/her that life is hard. But we have to stand strong so we can never be fall again . ask your friend "does is chance ? does the world chance when you cut your self ? no . and with self harming nothing gointo chance only its gonna be worste"
March 26th, 2015 9:52pm
Give them a lot of support. Be there for them. Tell them that you care for them. You need to show them that life is more then just what theyre going through right now. Once they get through this there will be sunlights.
July 13th, 2015 6:09pm
I can help someone from self-harming by several reasons. For example, being a friend for someone who wants to self-harm. I can also chat with them, and let them know that they are beautiful and needed.
September 22nd, 2015 5:57pm
I would talk to them about my own experiences and refer them to either talk to myself, or a specialist.
November 16th, 2015 6:13pm
That's a realy challenging question and I could write a whole book about it. First of all - understanding. It's not a good idea to blame people for their way of reacting to depressing our stressfull situations. Show compassion but also try to make them realise that it makes you worried and that you'd like to find another solution to that. Since they like you they'll understand your fear. At last but not least, try different things that realease stress and make them realise that hurting themselves won't make the problems go away either. And once again: compassion, understanding, compassion, patience, giving hope, understanding!
December 29th, 2015 7:02am
The best thing you can do is just be there. Don't ask them why if you see that they have self harmed just go up to them and give them a hug and tell them that you are there for them. Don't force them to talk about it just be sure they know that you are there for them and if it is really bad you need to tell a consular
February 9th, 2016 3:41am
You can't ever stop the self harmer from self harming. You can let them know that you are there for them. Offer a safe place to land. Ask them to message you before they self harm. This won't prevent them from doing it, but you might be able to comfort them. Let them know that you care. Tell them about alternatives, like The Butterfly Project. Read more about it here:
March 21st, 2016 1:51am
Something that I like to use or give them is You can write the butterfly on their arm. I have seen this help a lot of people. The best you can do for them is be there for them and remind them that you care.
March 21st, 2016 8:26am
Refer them to the right organization and a professional. Urge the person to identify their need by talking with them.
June 20th, 2016 12:22am
Share with them that when they're self-harming that their also harming you and your loved ones......
July 5th, 2016 9:34am
You could talk with that person and ask her if she wants to consult someone. You can let her know that you will always be there for her, but this is above your abilities to help you with that on that point.
July 12th, 2016 6:12pm
Dont look at them like they are insane, dont said it is wrong, they know that, but it isnt simple to stop, explain to them you´ll be there and find ways to distract them
July 26th, 2016 2:20am
Just by being there and letting them know you want to support them! Tell them they are not alone! Focus on positive things about the person how beautiful, strong they are! Tell them they are loved and they are not alone!!
August 2nd, 2016 11:30am
Self-harm is a complicated thing, commonly self harm can be seen as a cry for help or a way to express negative emotions. Try recomending new hobies like art for example; where they can express their negative emotions in a positive way. Simply just showing them that you're there for them and that you care about them can be a big step in the road to recovery.
August 15th, 2016 12:34pm
Try explore alternatives to self harm with them such as drawing on themselves with a red marker, pinging an elastic band against their wrist, mindfulness techniques can be really helpful as can guided meditation (you can find things like this on YouTube). Unfortunately it's not as simple as getting them to promise they won't do it again, because they may well do and feel guilty for breaking said promise. I hope they find something from this helpful, take care x
February 7th, 2017 6:56am
Someone who's self-harming doesn't just quit self harm instantly, it took me four years and counting. I feel like the most important part is to find out why they're doing it, are they emotionally pained, is something bothering them? Cornering this problem can help you find the first step to giving them a hand. Telling someone to stop isn't the first step because most who self-harm, including myself(in the past), have been or are stubborn. But don't let this discourage you, try to show them you really care.
May 28th, 2018 12:39pm
Hello, it seems that someone you care for is going through a tough time. I know it may seem like you cant to anything, or that they don't want help but the best thing you can do is sit down with them and show that you're willing to help them work through this.
June 11th, 2018 10:07pm
Tell them the reasons it’s not worth it, make their worries go away and keep them comfort. Speaking from experience, it helps to have someone who genuinely does not want you to do it; and wants you to be happy. ( Someone that thinks you’re worth something )
November 27th, 2018 11:21pm
Be there for them. Tell them when they are having those thoughts to call you or text you. That's the main thing you can do. Taking their "tools" away won't help they will always find more. Chances are their hidden everywhere. So really the only thing you can do in my opinion is be there for them. Let them know your not gonna judge and you want to help. We self harm because there is pain inside of us and we have to let it out. And usually if you talk to somebody it let's that's pain out. So normally you don't feel like you have to self harm anymore
April 12th, 2021 8:43am
Be there for them. They’re probably harming themselves because they’re going through something, that makes them feel lonely, or that they’re not good enough, or something has happened to them that has changed their life, and they can’t take it anymore. You need to let them know that if they ever need you, you would be there for them. Let them know you love them, and care for them; don’t tell them this, but instead, show them. Talk to them. When they tell you what they’re going through, do not ignore them, or show you don’t care. When they tell you how they feel, check up on them frequently, but only if they feel comfortable. If they do not want to talk about it again, don’t force them, but let them know that you’re there.