Causes of self-harm

The reasons why people self-harm are complex. Someone might not be able to always identify a clear reason why they harmed themselves or behave in a harmful way. People self-harm for reasons including:

  • To deal with strong emotions like anger or sadness.
  • To punish themselves for things they think they’ve done wrong.
  • Make themselves feel more ‘normal’.
  • To try and make other people aware they are struggling.
  • As a distraction from intense feelings.
  • To try and get relief from what they are experiencing emotionally.
  • To deal with painful memories, such as past trauma, abuse or bullying.

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