What is it?

Self-harm is when someone hurts themselves on purpose (not associated with some of the habitual behaviour associated with developmental conditions such as autism). In most cases, there is no suicidal intention but a teenager’s safety must always be kept in mind and it helpful to have the risk they pose to themselves assessed by a professional.

Self-harm in not a new phenomenon, but it appears to be growing in frequency. Whilst both teenagers and adults, male and female, self-harm, cutting is most prevalent in teenage girls. However, boys who self-harm tend to cause more damage to themselves and suicide is more common in boys and men.

Self-harm is a serious problem for teenagers with around 1 in 12 children aged between 10 and 16 carrying out a variety of self-harm behaviours.

The self-harm management techniques that are described, are separate to those that are recommended for autism, or for children with neurological damage or special needs, where the intention of the self-harm and therefore the management, has a different focus.


Self-Harm is usually identified by regular marks that are noted in a variety of parts of the body. These can include cuts, burns, scratches for example.