Self-harm is any deliberate behaviour that causes injury to a person’s own body by cutting, burning, scratching, hair-pulling, overdosing, bruising or banging. For some people, it is a coping mechanism, helping them to deal with intense emotional distress. Others self-injure to ‘awaken’ themselves if they are feeling numb or dissociated.

Self-harm is a hidden behaviour, so others often aren’t are of the full scale. However, it appears to be more common in younger people.

Common behaviours

  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Withdrawn behaviour and/or avoidance of social contact with peers
  • Repetitive distressed behaviours (for example, pulling hair or tapping)
  • Visible, repeated marks on skin (usually arms)

What you can do

If you or someone else has sustained a severe injury through self-harm or has taken an overdose or poison, phone Security on 0114 225 2000 if you are on campus or 999 if you are away from the university.

Support is available through your GP and Student Wellbeing through 1-1 support, workshops and self-help resources.

External support agencies

LifeSIGNS is an online, user-led voluntary organisation, founded to create understanding about self-injury and provide information and support

Harmless Logo - Support for Self Harm
Harmless is a user led organisation that provides a range of services about self harm including support, information, training and consultancy to people who self harm, their friends and families and professionals. a project dedicated to supporting young people impacted by self-harm, providing a safe space to talk, ask any questions and be honest about what’s going on in your life.
Self Injury SupportSelf Injury Support is a national organisation that supports girls and women in emotional distress. We particularly help women who harm themselves, often called self-injury.