School nursing: Self-harm

Self-Harm is an umbrella term for behaviours that can cause injury or danger to yourself.
Self-harm is when you hurt yourself as a way of dealing with very difficult feelings, painful memories or overwhelming situations and experiences. Some people have described self-harm as a way to:
  • express something that is hard to put into words
  • turn invisible thoughts or feelings into something visible
  • change emotional pain into physical pain
  • reduce overwhelming emotional feelings or thoughts
  • have a sense of being in control
  • escape traumatic memories
  • have something in life that they can rely on
  • punish yourself for your feelings and experiences
  • stop feeling numb, disconnected or dissociated (see dissociative disorders)
  • create a reason to physically care for themselves
  • express suicidal feelings and thoughts without taking their own life
After self-harming you may feel a short-term sense of release, but the cause of your distress is unlikely to have gone away. Self-harm can also bring up very difficult emotions and could make you feel worse.
Even though there are always reasons underneath someone hurting themselves, it is important to know that self-harm does carry risks. Once you have started to depend on self-harm, it can take a long time to stop.
The Gloucestershire Self Harm Helpline provides a safe, supportive, non-judgmental and informative space for people who self harm, their friends, families and carers. We also speak to professionals who may want to know more about self harm. The service is able to support anyone living within Gloucestershire, and you can contact the service by telephone, text or webchat during our opening hours, every day 5pm to 10pm.
Phone: 0808 801 0606
Text: 07537 410 022
You can also discuss Self harm with your School Nurse. The School Nurse service is provided by the NHS. This services offer a confidential service, they will not disclose information about you to anyone else unless they are concerned about your safety. This would be discussed with you prior to sharing.
You can access your School Nurse for face to face contact, via a weekly drop-in service that is offered to secondary schools. To find the date and time of your drop-in, please follow the link below.
Alternately, you could contact ChatHealth, a text messaging service provided by the NHS by Gloucestershire School Nurses. 
Messages sent to the dedicated number (07507 333 351) are delivered to a secure website and responded to by a GCS school nurse. The service is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 4.40pm, excluding bank holidays. Texts are usually replied to within 24 hours. Anyone who texts the service receives a bounce back message explaining where to get help if their question is urgent, and when they can expect a response.
Please follow below link for further information on Chat Health.


Useful links

The Gloucestershire Self Harm Helpline website is here

Mental health charity MIND has information on self-harm here

The NHS page on self-harm is here

Action for Happiness is a charity and social movement committed to increasing happiness. It describes the 10 keys to happier living here