This article will provide you with the information on seeking out support to prevent self-harming.
Deliberate self-harm is more common than many people realise, especially amongst students and young people. This article discusses ways to tackle self-harming behaviour and to get support. The focus is on deliberate self-harm as distinct from acting on suicidal intent. If you are considering suicide or feel you are at risk of acting on suicidal thoughts, please see the urgent support article.
It is always advisable to consult your GP about a habit of self-harm or if you are feeling persistently low, especially if your daily functioning is significantly affected. It is also advisable to let your personal tutor or course leader know if you are having difficulties affecting your studies - they are there to help, and can offer useful advice and support.
You can learn skills to help you turn to more constructive coping strategies, and there is a lot of other support available to tackle self harm:
Courses and workshops
The Student Wellbeing Service hosts a range of workshops and courses for learning skills to tackle common issues like low mood and depression.
Our popular 'Mood Boost' course runs several times a term and there are several workshops on relevant topics like sleep, and panic. You may also find it helpful to attend a course on mindfulness. Consult our course and workshop programme to find out more.
You may wish to book onto our 'Facing feelings workshop' or if you have registered for individual support, you could also be offered a place on our 'Managing Emotions' course, which have been specially designed to teach the distress tolerance and emotional coping skills which can support you in tackling self-harm.
Student Wellbeing Service
The Student Wellbeing Service offers confidential help with a wide range of personal and emotional concerns and is available to every student at the University, free of charge. All kinds of students find their way to us from all over the University and for all sorts of reasons. We regularly support students who are trying to cope with self harm.
The service has three strands: wellbeing advice, counselling, and mental health advice. They are all linked together so when you apply you only have to approach us once – we will sort out which one is most likely to meet your needs. In addition to the individual support we offer, we also liaise closely with local NHS services and can support you in accessing NHS services where relevant.
To contact us or register for support see our article on accessing support from the Student Wellbeing Service.
If you regularly feel overwhelmed or distressed, leading to self harm, it can be helpful to monitor your mood and share your concerns with someone. The Student Wellbeing Service’s What’sUp app allows you to monitor your mood and keep an emotion journal. The app has an ‘SOS text’ function and you can get support via text from our wellbeing advisers (in office hours) or the Samaritans (out of hours).
You create an account with your University of Portsmouth student ID, but use of the app is anonymous. Find out more and sign up via the Online Resources article.
The University library has copies of the following books which could be useful:
Germer, C. K - The mindful path to self-compassion : freeing yourself from destructive thoughts and emotions - 153.83/GER
Schmidt, U & Davison, K - Life After Self-Harm: A Guide to the Future - 616.85844/SCH
Strohsal, K. D & Robinson, P - The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression - 616.8914/STR
Sutton, J - Healing the Hurt Within - 616.85844/SUT
If you would like to research more around the topic of self harm, the Student Wellbeing Service can recommend the following self help resources:
Students Against Depression
NHS Booklets on Depression and Self Harm
National Self-Harm Network