Self-Harm Prevention & Self Care
If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or are feeling suicidal, please call 911 or go to your local hospital emergency room.
Life can get stressful, and your own self care is important.
Below you will find a Personal Safety Plan and
Alternatives to Self-Harm and Cutting Plan.
Feel free to read and make notes from this page or you can also download a printable copy of the Personal Safety Plan Sheet and the Alternatives to
Self-Harm and Cutting for yourself.
Personal Safety Plan
This is a personal safety plan you can work on as a way to cope when you are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm. You can download a PDF file of the Safety Plan, or you can write your ideas on a piece of paper, then place it in a safe place you will remember. If you are beginning to feel that you are having thoughts of harming yourself or suicide, you can read what you have written, and it may be of help in a time of need.
Step 1: What are some things that you can recognize in yourself which can remind you to use this safety plan? For example, any thoughts, emotions, or behaviors that may be a warning that a crisis is developing.
Examples: racing thoughts, feeling hopeless, feeling sad or down, feeling depressed, thoughts of cutting, stressful events
Step 2: What can you do to make sure that your environment is safe?
Examples: removing any weapons, pills, or other objects which could pose a health or safety risk, holding a soft or harmless object to keep hands busy.
Step 3: What are some internal coping strategies that you can use?
Examples: meditate, exercise, listen to music, watch a movie/tv show/youtube, writing, etc.
Step 4: Who are some people that you know or organizations you can call to either talk about this with you, or distract you?
Examples: LGBT National Help Center, Suicide Prevention Lifeline, therapist, school counselor, teacher, trusted friends or family members.
Example Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE or 988
Example: LGBT National Hotline: 1-888-843-4564
Example: Trevor Project: 866-488-7386
1. ______________________ Phone: ________________
2. ______________________ Phone: ________________
3. ______________________ Phone: ________________
4. ______________________ Phone: ________________
5. ______________________ Phone: ________________
Step 5: Where are some safe places that you can go to either get help or distract you?
Examples: a local coffee shop, library, local mall, taking a walk (in a safe place at a safe time), local LGBT community center, support group, social group, etc.
Alternatives to Cutting and Self-Harm
Some people cut or self-harm to try to cope with pain or strong emotions, intense pressure, or upsetting problems. It may be a way control in a situation someone can feel helpless in. It can be a way to express pain that can’t be put into words. It can be a way to feel something (even if it’s pain) at a time when one is having trouble being able to feel anything at all.
It’s possible to hurt yourself badly.
Finding coping techniques or finding other outlets can help in times when a person feels the need to cut.
Below are lists of ideas to focus on, instead of self-harming
To express pain/intense emotions:
-Start a journal/blog/vlog
-Write a story or poetry
-Play a musical instrument
-Scribble on paper
-Create something in clay
-Talk to yourself
To release tension or vent anger:
-Punch a pillow
-Use a stress ball
-Make noise/scream as loud as you can (in a safe or private space)
-Stomp your boots
-Instead of cutting, cover yourself in band-aids
-Write the names of special people or thoughts on your arms
-Tear up an old newspaper
-Draw slash lines on paper
To calm or soothe yourself:
-Take a warm shower or bath
-Pet or cuddle a dog or cat
-Wrap yourself in a blanket
-Message your neck, hands, or feet
-Listen to calming music
-Hug a pillow or stuffed animal
-Paint your nails
-Watch a favorite movie
-Re-read a favorite book
-Go for a nice walk
-Count ceiling tiles or lights
Because you feel disconnected/numb:
-Talk to friends
-Take a COLD shower
-Hold ice in the crook of your leg or arm
-Chew something strong like chili, lemon, or peppermint
-Snap a rubber band on you wrist for brief periods of time
-Focus deeply on a piece of chocolate as you eat
-Blow up a balloon and pop it
-Connect online with help forums
-Concentrate on things that have made you happy in the past
Things that inspire you and direct your energy outward:
-Perform 1 act of kindness
-Pay someone a ccompliment
-Pay it forward
You know yourself best, so take a few moments to breathe and think about things that may have helped you in the past to calm down. Write them down so you can remember them when you are feeling stressed.
The relief that comes from self-harm does not last long. It can quickly be followed by feelings like guilt or shame. It can become addictive.