Looking for Self Harm support services?
the lowdown are here to help! We provide free counselling and advice to young people aged between 12-25yrs across Northampton.

Self harm (sometimes called Self injury) is when you deliberately hurt or injure yourself, for example cutting, bruising or burning the skin. Self harm can also include other things that may be harmful to you such as smoking, eating disorders, and drug or alcohol abuse.

This is an issue which can affect both males and females of all ages, and is often a way of releasing or coping with strong feelings such as stress or anger. The root cause can often be difficulties such as bullying, family problems, abuse, bereavement, or low self esteem or other reasons that may make you feel upset or helpless and self harm usually happens when you don’t know how else to express or release your feelings.

If you are considering making a disclosure to somebody then, first of all – WELL DONE!

  • Choose someone you really trust
  • Choose a good time when you won’t be interrupted
  • Try writing down what you want to say so that you feel prepared, or can show them if you feel too scared
  • Let the person know what you would like to happen as a result of the conversation
  • Remember the lowdown and other organisations are there to support you

If somebody discloses to you:

This can be scary (especially if it’s someone you care about), but try to remember it is a good thing that they are speaking up and trust YOU enough to open up.
  • Try not to show shock on your face (even if you are feeling it inside)
  • Though you may be worried, try not to shout or judge them
  • Spend time listening and being patient
  • Try not to make demands or ultimatums
  • Ask them what help they would like (from you and from others)
  • Be honest. If you need to tell somebody else, then let them know
  • If you don’t have all the answers – that’s ok
  • Remember the lowdown & other organisations are there to support you too

You’re not alone

The UK has one of the highest rates of self harm in Europe, with more than 24,000 teenagers admitted to hospital each year after intentionally injuring themselves. You’re not alone, and there is support available from people who understand exactly what you’re going through and can help you to overcome your difficulties.

We can help

We helped 162 people like you deal with SELF HARM last year. We’re here to listen and help, in a safe environment. We understand self harming may be your way of coping with a difficult situation and we can help you to find less harmful ways to cope.

Get in touch if you’re worried about self harming

Drop in, make an appointment or call us on 01604 622223 for free, confidential and non-judgmental counselling and support. We know it can feel like a big step to take, but we’re here for you.

If you or someone you know is self harming, please click the tab below for some proven alternative techniques to self harm…

Safe Alternative Techniques to Self Harming

Below is a list of safe alternative techniques to self harming. You can also DOWNLOAD them for easy reference.

  1. using a RED PEN – to mark where you might usually cut
  2. Hitting a PUNCH BAG, PILLOWS or CUSHIONS – to vent anger and frustration
  3. SCREAMING into a PILLOW OR CUSHION or even out of A CAR WINDOW or whilst you are RUNNING / WALKING if no-one is around
  4. Rubbing ICE across your skin where you might usually cut, or holding an ice-cube in the crook of your arm or leg – the melting ice represents the trickle of blood
  5. getting outdoors and having a FAST WALK, JOG or RUN
  6. EXERCISING – is a really good way of changing your mood and releasing adrenaline
  7. making LOTS OF NOISE, either with a musical instrument or just banging on pots and pans
  8. WRITING feelings on a piece of paper and then ripping it up, hiding them, burning them (safely)
  9. keeping a JOURNAL / DIARY – to help you see patterns and triggers of self harming
  10. SCRIBBLING on a large piece of paper with a red crayon or pen
  11. putting ELASTIC BANDS on wrists or ankles and snapping them instead of cutting or hitting
  12. TALKING to a friend (not necessarily about self-harm) / NOT BEING ON YOUR OWN
  13. collage or artwork – doing SOMETHING CREATIVE with things that make you feel safe and happy
  14. Turning the pain into LYRICS – song / poetry / short story etc
  15. getting online and looking at SAFE SELF-HELP websites
  16. Talk to someone at THE LOWDOWN – helpline is 01604 622223
  17. Burst some BUBBLE WRAPit’s fun and can help release stress
  18. Make up a MEMORY BOXof things that make you smile and feel happy, so that you can look through it when you feel low

Below is an extract from the


  1. When you feel like you want to cut, take a marker or pen and draw a butterfly wherever the self-harm occurs.
  2. Name the butterfly after a loved one, or someone that really wants you to get better.
  3. NO scrubbing the butterfly off.
  4. Another person may draw them on you. These butterflies are extra special. Take good care of them.
  5. If you cut before the butterfly is gone, it dies. If you don’t cut, it lives.
  6. Even if you don’t cut, feel free to draw a butterfly anyways, to show your support.

Dangers of Self Harm

  • Going too far
  • Permanent scars
  • Judgement by others
  • Warning_signHarming to forget something, yet scars can remain as a permanent reminder
  • Not doing it safely
  • Not knowing how to stop
  • Not knowing where to get help

If you are not ready to stop … Be safe!

  • Always have an emergency First Aid kit nearby
  • Don’t share sharps
  • Ensure sharps are clean and sterile
  • Know what to do if it goes too far
  • Know how to dress the wounds
  • Know where to get help
  • faidFind someone you can trust to talk about it
  • Find a safe and comfortable alternative to it
  • If you have hurt yourself too much or it has gone too far – ALWAYS SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION

Cycle of Self Harming

  • NEGATIVE EMOTIONS – sadness, anger, despair
  • TENSION – inability to control emotions, maybe using dissasociation to cope with tension
  • SELF HARM ACT – cutting, hurting etc
  • IMMEDIATE EFFECTS – endorphins released, which can make you feel like tension and negative feeling have gone – but it’s only for a short period!
  • NEGATIVE EFFECTS – shame and guilt over self harm act
Your message is confidential and sent direct to the lowdown's support team.
This form is for self-referrals and assisted self-referrals to access the lowdown’s services.