Self Injury Support is a UK wide charity that has been working around the issue of self-injury for nearly 30 years. In that time we’ve seen some real changes in how many young people are self-injuring and what support they can receive.
We know that many young people starting university don’t have an easy time adjusting to the new demands of student life. We also know that many young people feel isolated and unable to talk about how they feel. Maybe friendships don’t feel real enough yet or maybe you don’t feel comfortable or want to access support services.
We know that Self injury almost always begins in response to painful and difficult situations. Sometimes young people we speak to think ‘their problems aren’t that big compared to other people’ and feel bad for wanting to hurt themselves. Everyone has emotions and we all deal with them in different ways.
It might be that you’ve self-injured before university or it might be a new thing in your life. It isn’t something you have to deal with on your own. For some, starting self-injury can be a confusing and distressing time – not quite understanding why it helps so much and maybe not feeling comfortable talking to people about it, especially if you’re worried about how they’ll react or who they might tell.
We have conversations with young people who are quite scared because they think about self-injury more than they thought they would and are planning or thinking about when they can do it again. Some people have used self-injury as a way of dealing with how they feel for a long time and it may be their way of dealing with things.
At Self Injury Support we understand that people are in different stages of their relationship with self-injury and can we support you with whatever you need. We don’t prescribe one way of working and know that different things work for different people. We’ll support you to find your own answers.
TESS is a text and email service for young women up to 24 affected by self-injury. When you contact TESS we can’t see personal details like mobile phone numbers or email addresses. You can talk about whatever you like, but many young women contact us to talk about their self-injury in some way. If it’s difficult to talk, that’s OK – we won’t rush you. You can say as much or as little as feels comfortable to you. We understand that it might feel weird saying these words, especially if you haven’t said or even typed them to anyone else before.
The main thing we won’t tell you is that you should stop self-injuring. Only you can decide that and we will support you if that’s what you want to do. We do offer some words of caution however. Self-injury is rarely something that stops overnight and if you do stop, sometimes the urges to go back to it can be really strong.
It can be helpful to understand your reasons for self-injury and what it means for you, but we are there to support you with all of that. You can use TESS as much as you like. We find that people tend to use us in a way that suits them, but if you want to contact us every day for a year – that’s fine. Other people use us sporadically – as and when they need to. It’s up to you.
When you’re at university you may have talked to friends, a tutor, the wellbeing service or a counsellor, but you can use TESS alongside all these other support options. Sometimes it can help to have access to something when other people or services aren’t available.
Alongside the text and email, we have also just started supporting young women via webchat. This can feel very relaxed and we hope that alongside the anonymity, facelessness and voiceslessness it has a more conversational feel to it and it’ll be able to help young women with issues around their self-injury. Please keep an eye on the website for details of when the webchat is running.
Self Injury Support has a range of information on our website that we hope will enable you to understand your self-injury a little bit more. In addition to that we have some online tools which can be used either as a distraction to self-injury, as a way of trying to understand why you want to self-injure or to recognise the times you are most likely to do it.
The self-harm spectrum is great for all of these things. If you’re able to see patterns in when you might self-injure, you might be able to understand why you feel the way you do and be able to make small changes that make things a bit easier. The computer will also make a couple of suggestions – maybe things you haven’t tried before.
These are two resources with a range of different ideas and approaches to try and accept and understand the emotions we feel and why. If we’re able to do this then we hope you can use the Moving On cube to try different strategies to deal with those difficult emotions. You may not like some, but the key is to try and learn from what you do and don’t like.
Finally we have loads of information on our website about understanding your self-injury and moving away from self-injury. Please have a look at all the different information sheets – we hope there will be something there you can use to makes things a bit easier.
If you would like to find support for self-injury you can access Self-injury support using the details below:
Women’s Self Injury Helpline 0808 800 8088 Monday-Friday 7pm -10pm