Person in a therapy session for self harm

How to Help Your Loved One That’s Self-Harming

Learning that a loved one is hurting themselves can be extremely hard. You might not know how to react or help them. They could be hurting themselves differently, but getting professional help can be the most effective way to help them. Here’s an overview of how to know when someone has self-harmed and what you can do to help them.

What Does Self-Harm Look Like?

Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body through various means. There are different types of self-harm, some more destructive than others. This action can often be a cry for help but is often hard to notice.

People who self-harm can do it in several ways, but it typically includes:

  • Cutting or burning their skin
  • Punching or hitting themselves
  • Taking pills or liquids

Many of those who self-harm will often wear long-sleeved shirts or long pants to hide cuts or bruises. Because of that, it’s often difficult to notice when someone is self-harming. It would be best to look for any cuts, bruises, signs of depression, self-loathing, or abnormally withdrawnness.

What to do If Your Loved One is Self-Harming

Self-harming behaviors can be difficult thing to confront. Your loved one may be trying to ask for help but may feel ashamed or unsure how to ask for it. So, there are a few things that you can do to help them, including:

  • Avoid judgment
  • Seek understanding
  • Be supportive
  • Don’t dismiss them
  • Don’t ask for promises
  • Try to be accepting and normalize their feelings

Once you’ve been able to talk to them about their self-harm and support them, you can aid them in getting the care they need. Treatments for their underlying mental health condition will help treat their self-harming behavior. Through treatment, they can learn healthy coping behaviors that help them with self-harm.

Read More About Helping A Self Harming Loved One