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No Harm Done: talking to parents and carers about self-harm

For No Harm Done, we worked with young people to create three short films about self-harm. When it comes to talking to parents and carers, they gave some insight into what it feels like and how it worked out for them.

Talking about self-harm can be tough, and for some people it can be even harder to talk to those close to you. However, once they started the conversation, young people who spoke about their experiences for No Harm Done said that confiding in family and friends really helped them.

Why talk?

Many young people say that self-harm can make them feel ‘isolated’. They also say that they don’t always feel able to talk about their experiences with their families.

There is still a lot of stigma attached to self-harm. However, talking about self-harm can help you feel less isolated.

Jennifer was one of the young people on the No Harm Done project. She said:

Getting help made me realise I’m not alone. I felt so alone that having that help opened my eyes to the fact that I can get through it and, my most amazing thing, is that I can take my negative experiences, and turn them in to something positive.
Jennifer

Neil, another young person who shared their experiences for No Harm Done revealed that talking can be another way to put across your emotions or feelings:

It was kind of a relief that I’d spoken to somebody about it. It’s just the little, small things that can make a big impact. I was helped to find other ways of expressing myself, without hurting myself.
Neil

Starting the conversation

It can be difficult seeing your parents’ or relatives’ initial reactions to the news.

My mum felt it was her fault, she was blaming herself for it, so it kind of made me feel bad, because I know it’s not her, but then, to this day, she still thinks it was partly her fault.
Neil

You might not be met with the reaction you expected, but that doesn’t always matter. Jennifer explained that what her mum said wasn’t as important as the fact that she was concerned:

She often said the wrong things and she didn’t understand at first, but she was there and she cared. That was the most important thing.
Jennifer

Recovery can be a learning process, both for you and the people you confide in.

The benefits of talking about self-harm

Talking to those close to you can offer you valuable support.

Lucy said:

It was definitely like a weight off my shoulders, because I’ve always known that these people care about me.
Lucy

There are also lots of different people you can talk too, Lucy added:

I feel very lucky to have a lot of the people around me, all my friends, my boyfriend, my parents, and other, like, people in my family.
Lucy

Talking to family members can also help improve your relationships with each other. Some young people have said that talking can help strengthen bonds and improve the way families talk to each other.

Neil said:

You find out different ways that you could get help, and different places where you can go, there’s a place where you can be heard in a space that you feel comfortable, that you could actually speak to professionals or people that you trust about it.
Neil

Opening up about problems can actually have improve your relationship with those around you, as Lucy found out:

That’s a very positive thing that has come out of this, being able to communicate a lot more with them.
Lucy

Hear their stories

Lucy, Neil and Jennifer are some of the young people who shared their experiences of self-harm for No Harm Done. You can hear their stories in the No Harm Done films.

Find help for self-harm

For more information and advice on ways to get help, have a look at our self-harm page.

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