Self-harm can be a way of coping with problems. It may help you express feelings you can’t put into words, distract you from your life, or release emotional pain. If you want to stop but don’t know how, remember this: you deserve to feel better, and you can get there without hurting yourself. You are not alone. We are here to help you. If you are worried about someone else who is self-harming. We are here to listen, provide support and connect you to resources. Call us 24/7 at 206-685-SAFE (7233).
Types of Self-harm
Self-harm includes anything someone does to intentionally injure themselves. Some of the more common ways include:
- cutting, severely scratching or picking away skin
- burning or scalding yourself
- hitting or banging your head
- pulling out hair
- punching things or throwing your body against walls and hard objects
- sticking objects into your skin
- intentionally preventing wounds from healing
- swallowing poisonous substances or inappropriate objects
Self-harm can also include less obvious ways of hurting yourself or putting yourself in danger, such as driving recklessly, binge drinking, taking too many drugs, and having unsafe sex.
Warning Signs that Someone is Self-Harming
- Unexplained wounds or scars from cuts, bruises, or burns, usually on the wrists, arms, thighs, or chest.
- Blood stains on clothing, towels, or bedding; blood-soaked tissues.
- Sharp objects or cutting instruments, such as razors, knives, needles, glass shards, or bottle caps, in the person’s belongings.
- Frequent “accidents.” Someone who self-harms may claim to be clumsy or have many mishaps, in order to explain away injuries.
- Covering up. A person who self-injures may insist on wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather.
- Needing to be alone for long periods of time, especially in the bedroom or bathroom.
- Isolation and irritability.
Offering Support to Someone who is Self-Harming
Perhaps you’ve noticed suspicious injuries on someone close to you, or that person has confided to you that he or she is cutting. Whatever the case may be, you may be feeling unsure of yourself. What should you say? How can you help?
- Consult: Call SafeCampus to learn more about self-harm and what you should do next
- Acknowledge your feelings. Do you feel confused, nervous, or afraid for someone who is self-harming? Acknowledging your feelings about self-harm is an important first step before reaching out to someone.
- Reach out: Let your friend know you have noticed their actions and ask if they want to talk about it.
- Listen: Keep questions to a minimum and ask how you can help.
- Connect: Share campus resources with them.
SafeCampus is the central reporting office if you are concerned for yourself or a friend. We have trained specialists who will take your call, connect you with resources, and put safety measures in place to reduce the chances of violence occurring. We are available 24/7.
UW Police Department (UWPD)
- Emergency calls: 911
- Non-emergency calls: 206-685-UWPD (206-685-8973)
Provides emergency response to violent incidents and direct threats of harm to persons or property. The UWPD also provides Crime Prevention services designed to assist in identifying problems and intervening to prevent violence.
Health and Wellness Student Care Program
Health and Wellness is a starting point for students in distress and in need of multiple levels of support.
UW Counseling Center (available to UW students)
The UW Counseling Center supports students in all aspects of their development, providing personal and career counseling, study skills assistance, and other services to those currently enrolled. The Center is ready to respond to students in crisis situations. Consultations with faculty, staff, and parents who have concerns about a student are also available.
Hall Health Mental Health Clinic (available to UW community)
Hall Health Mental Health Clinic provides mental health services to students, faculty and staff, including assessments; individual, couple, family and group therapy; medication evaluation and management; and referrals when appropriate to other campus or community resources.
UW Human Resources Consultants (available to faculty and staff)
Your department’s assigned HR Consultant can help you with information about leave eligibility use, planning time away from work for legal reasons etc.
UW CareLink (available to benefits-eligible faculty and staff)
- TTY/TDD: 877-334-0489
The UW CareLink program offers short-term confidential counseling services for faculty and staff at no cost. Master’s-level counselors are available to take your call, any time day or night.