My friend sent me a picture of their self-harm wounds...
My friend sent me a picture of their self-harm wounds. I already knew they self-harmed and I always try to help them cope so they avoid self-harming, but seeing their wounds is really scary. I’m not sure what to do, I hate blood and it’s scary.
Hi there and welcome to Ask Alex.
Thank you for reaching out.
You have explained how a friend sent you a picture of their self-harm wounds and how scary that is for you. You also said you are not sure of what to do.
It is indeed scary to witness someone we love hurting themselves and it can trigger in us lots of emotional responses and reactions to it. It is normal to experience a range of feelings and emotions including shock, anger, sadness, guilt, distress, and sympathy. It is important to remember that the person who self-harms also experiences a range of feelings and emotions. It is also important to be aware of what you may think.
Self-harm is concerning, yes, and we can offer support, of course, but before we can be there for the other person in any way we can, we need to touch base with ourselves first. That means that we need to check how we are feeling, what do we need to cope with this situation, and what do we feel comfortable doing if we want to support that person.
Talking to your parents or another family member or trusting adult around you would help in that matter. If you cannot think of anyone who you could talk to or if you don’t feel comfortable bringing it up with them, know that Childline is always there for you to listen and support you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can call them for free at 1800 666666, text to 50101 or use the Live Chat in their website www.childline.ie .
Once you’ve made sure you have taken care of yourself first, you may feel ready to support that person. If that is the case, these are some things that could help:
- Don’t panic, LISTEN, and find out what they need.
- Acknowledge their pain.
- See the person, not the injuries
- Encourage them to cry to express sadness or frustrations.
- Encourage them to see a mental health professional to get support.
- Doing exercise, singing or screaming at the top of their lungs, journaling, playing a game, yoga, meditation and breathing exercises.
We hope this helps. Do not hesitate to contact us again if you need further support.