How should I respond to self-harm?
Unfortunately, people who self-harm have often met with unhelpful responses including assumptions such “It’s manipulative and attention-seeking”. People have sometimes had support withdrawn at the point when they need it most, in the mistaken belief that responding to self-harm with hostility or negativity will discourage the person from harming themselves again.
Yet people who self-harm describe how negative responses can make them feel even more distressed and can therefore increase their need to self-harm. On the contrary, caring, supportive and empathic responses are crucial in helping someone to live safely with self-harm, and to stop self-harming, if and when they are ready.