Reducing the harms of self-injury

There are steps a young person can take that can reduce the harms associated with self-injury whilst they develop the skills to use more positive ways to cope.  The focus at this point is to keep the young person as safe as possible.

Harm reduction ideas

  • Not self-injuring while affected by alcohol or other drugs
  • Removing implements used for self-injury, or giving them to carers, means the young person usually has to speak to someone before they self-injure
  • Provide appropriate first aid
  • Educate about wound care
  • Don’t try to forcefully remove implements from the young person or stop them from self-injuring

Substitute forms of self-injury such as:

  • Rubbing ice on the skin or holding it in your hands instead of cutting
  • Putting elastic bands on wrists and flicking them when you feel the need
  • Eating a chilli
Further Resources