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Talking about self-harm

Talking with young people about self-harm is not always easy. It is a difficult to talk about and many people worry that if they talk about self-harm they might make things worse.

There is NO EVIDENCE to suggest that talking about self-harm will encourage young people to harm themselves. In fact feedback from young people is that they want to talk. However this needs to be done sensitively since our responses can sometimes be seen as uncaring.

Sometimes a young person may talk to you about their self-harm but ask you not to tell anyone else. DO NOT promise to keep this a secret. You need to decide who needs to know in order to keep that young person safe.

SLEEP is an acronym to help you remember 5 important steps when talking with young people about self-harm.

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Last updated: 24 April, 2018