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Why do teenagers and children self-harm?  

The reasons children and teenagers can self-harm are often complicated and will be different for every child or young person. Sometimes a child or teenager may not know the reasons they self-harm.   

For many young people, self-harm can feel like a way to cope with difficult feelings or to release tension. The physical pain of hurting themselves can feel like a distraction from the emotional pain they’re struggling with.  

Some difficult experiences or emotions can make self-harm more likely in children:  

  • experiencing  depression,  anxiety  or eating problems  
  • having low self-esteem or feeling like they’re not good enough  
  • being bullied or feeling alone  
  • experiencing emotional,  physical  or sexual abuse, or neglect  
  • grieving or having problems with family relationships  
  • feeling angry, numb or like they don’t have control over their lives.  



Phone: 0808 801 0606

Text: 07537 410 022

Gloucestershire Self Harm Helpline provides a safe, supportive,  non-judgemental  and informative space for people who  self harm, their friends, families and carers. We also speak to professionals who may want to know more about  self harm.  

The service  is able to  support anyone living within Gloucestershire, and you can contact the service by telephone, text or webchat during our opening hours, every day 5pm to 10pm. The helpline provides: confidential emotional support and information; support and understanding during a crisis; promotes coping strategies and self-management to help you work towards your recovery.