Cutting and self-harm

When someone hurts themselves to deal with painful and difficult feelings, it's called self-harm. Read below to find out more about the self-harming behaviour and how to get help.

How do I know if I'm self-harming?

If you've tried one or more of the following activities, you have tried to harm yourself:

  • Cutting
  • Burning
  • Scalding
  • Stabbing
  • Banging body parts against a wall
  • Hair-pulling
  • Biting
  • Breaking bones
  • Jumping from heights or in front of vehicles
  • Swallowing or inserting objects into your body
  • Self-poisoning

What are some reasons for self-harm?

Self-harming is an unhealthy coping method. You might harm yourself to:

  • Cope with anxiety or depression.
  • Cope with loss, trauma, violence, or other difficult situations.
  • Punish yourself.
  • Turn emotional pain into physical pain.
  • Feel 'real' and replace feelings of emptiness or numbness.
  • Feel euphoria.
  • Feel like you're in control of your body.
  • Simply feel better.

I've harmed myself or I'm thinking about it. What should I do?

Get immediate help

  • If you've recently hurt yourself, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest hospital.
  • Call the Crisis Centre if you're thinking of hurting yourself immediately.

Get help with coping skills

  • Talk to a counsellor, mental health professional, a supportive adult, or attend a support group. Professionals can teach you healthy ways of coping with difficult feelings.
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