It is a strange truth that people self harm to make themselves feel better.

Some people have a glass of wine after a bad experience, some eat a huge bag of crisps or a bar of chocolate. But some people cut themselves, or burn their skin, take an overdose, or punch a wall. All of these options are a human way of coping with stress, though not a healthy way.

Most days at Students’ Health Service we see male and female students who have recently harmed themselves. Our nurses are very sympathetic, brilliant at wound care and completely non judgmental. The GPs would like to help you too, and discover what’s behind the self injury and distress. We are not easily shocked and we have seen many unusual ways that students harm themselves, secondary to depression, anxiety, obsessive thoughts or psychosis.

Alcohol usually makes self harm more frequent, or the injury worse.

Nationally self harm is thought to affect about 5% of people, though this is likely to be an underestimate (Meltzer et al 2002). In a school survey 13% of young people aged 15/16 reported having self harmed at some time in their lives, and 7% in the previous year (Hawton et al 2002).

It is important to assess and treat those who self harm, as the behaviour is often related to an underlying mental health condition, which, if treated, may lead to improvement not just of the depression/ anxiety/ schizophrenia etc but also of the self injury.

If you would like help with self injury, or would like to talk about your mental health in general, please come and see us soon. Don’t forget that the Student Counselling service is also there to help, and the team is very experienced in supporting students with such issues.

 Other support in Bristol;

Contact the Self Injury Self Help Bristol organisation, who provide services for men and women with self injury issues. They run support groups, and also run workshops related to achieving good mental health in general.

Email; sishbristol@yahoo.co.uk

 Phone; 0117 927 9600

Or, Bristol Crisis Service for Women; 07788142 999

Runs a text support service for managing your self injury and emotional distress.