Pat's Answer

How do I quickly stop/distract myself from wanting to self-harm?

Your Question

how do I quickly stop/distract myself from wanting to self harm? I cant identify a trigger for it, and I dont really feel sad or anything when I do it. I just dont know how to stop. 


Hi there, you are welcome to Ask Pat. 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, we know this isn’t always easy to do. We also know that talking about what is going on for us is very important. 

From what you’ve said, it sounds like you have thoughts of wanting to self-harm and that you would like to advice for ways to stop and distract yourself from these thoughts. It also sounds like you have taken some time to think about what may be triggering these thoughts for you but that you aren’t sure what it is that is making you have these thoughts.  

Self-harm may look different to different people and there can be so many reasons and feelings around self-harm, and it’s okay to not be fully sure what is making you have these thoughts. Our bodies and minds may go through many different feelings and emotions and sometimes we aren’t sure how to deal with them. It can be important to think about these feelings and emotions that come up for us and think about ways that we can deal with the emotion. There are many mindfulness tools that can be used. If that’s not already something you do, maybe that is something you could take a look at. 

It is so important that we talk about how we are feeling and the thoughts that we are having. We would be concerned to hear you say that you are having thoughts of harming yourself. Do you have a trusted adult in your life that you feel you might be able to talk to about this? You have the right to get help and support. Pieta House is an organization in Ireland that provides one-to-one therapeutic support to those who engage in self-harming behaviours, perhaps you’d like to have a look at their website to see if you’d like to get in contact and engage in their services. 

You are also very welcome to contact Childline and chat about this, you will always have someone to chat with here. The Childline service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you can phone us for free on 1800 666 666, text us on 50101 or use the webchat messaging service on the Childline is here to listen and support you, and explore your options with you, we would never tell you what to do. 

You have been very brave to chat about this and remember, you are not alone.  

Take care of yourself, 


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