Self Harm Help

Self harm, which is also referred to as self injury, occurs when an individual inflicts injury upon themselves to help them deal with stressful situations or periods of angst. The most common form of self harming involves the cutting of skin on arms, legs and abdominal area.

Getting lives back on track, its what we do-

For persons prone to self harm help is available through Priory's dedicated professional consultants who have a deep understanding of the issue and can help cure the problem. Priory has a number of self harm support clinics that are spread all over the UK.

Deliberate self-harm (DSH) is not confined purely to harm through cutting. DSH encompasses all acts of intentional self harm with the purpose of causing physical harm to oneself without the intent of suicide. The causes of self-harm can be as follows:

Symptoms of self harming-

People can hurt themselves by compulsively picking at their skin, pulling their hair out, stabbing, poisoning, scratching or burning themselves. A broader definition extends to those who inflict harm on their bodies by over or under indulging with food or alcohol, or through drug abuse.

In younger children the signs can be scratching or biting themselves, picking their skin, or pulling their hair. Self harming is a relatively common condition but it is often kept secret from friends and family members. It may start in childhood and increase in frequency and severity in adolescence.

For further information on the symptoms of self harm click here.

What causes people to self harm?-

It is believed that self harming is not typically suicidal behaviour and normally it is not life threatening. However it is not uncommon for people who self harm to also have a history of suicidal behaviours on occasions when they have felt hopeless and in despair.

Self harming can provide temporary relief from feelings such as anxiety, depression, stress or self-loathing. The pain inflicted can release endorphins and a rush of adrenaline which can become pleasurable to the sufferer. 

Self harm support: How the Priory can help-

The type and length of treatment is dependent on the individual's circumstances and the severity and complexity of the condition. Some people are treated as outpatients, which means they come to the Priory for hourly sessions with their consultant, psychologist or therapist. Others require a more structured treatment approach which can include staying at one of the Priory hospitals for the duration of their treatment where they take part in the psychological group programme as well as regular sessions with their consultant.

Successful treatment includes development of positive coping mechanisms, (which may involve dialectical behavioural therapy skills work), the reduction or cessation of underlying stress, development of healthy communication skills and the assistance to regulate emotions. Therapy may involve group work, individual work, family therapy, and talking therapies, alongside prescribed medication.

Successful outcomes at the Priory-

Positive outcomes are enhanced by establishing a trusting relationship between patient and clinician, treatment of any existing mental health issues, plus support from family and friends. The Priory has over 25 years experience in helping to treat people who self harm. We recognise that everyone's situation is different, which is why we ensure that everyone has a unique treatment plan tailored to their needs.

72% of those that are admitted as an inpatient due to serious self harming are transitioned back to the community with a significant reduction in their maladaptive behaviours.

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding Self Harm Help, please call 0800 840 3219. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

More Info

How common is self harm?

Independent research commissioned by the Priory found that an unacceptably high proportion of British youngsters were self-harming. The condition is most prevalent in teenage girls although some do continue their behaviour into adulthood.

The research found that 13% of young people have self-harmed and the prevalence is highest in girls aged 15 to 17 years old. Self harming is a dramatic, addictive behaviour, and a maladaptive way for growing numbers of youngsters to relieve their psychological distress by literally cutting themselves off from disturbing thoughts and feelings.

Our Locations

“We have developed a unique strategy to manage self-injury, whilst reducing the incidents of assaults to staff when intervening in this emotive behaviour. Through this development, we have demonstrated our commitment to improving the service user’s experience at this difficult time and empowering our staff. This strategy has been recognised by the Care Quality Commission as an area of best practice”

Jenine Gorman, Ward Manager and Louise McKenna, Clinical Nurse Lead at the Priory Hospital Cheadle Royal