Ask Jigsaw: Friend wants to self-harm | Advice for Young People | Jigsaw

Ask Jigsaw: Friend wants to self-harm

Ask Jigsaw: Friend wants to self-harm

Tuesday, 08 September 2020

My best friend who is 14 wants to harm herself and I’m able to talk her out of it alot but I’m afraid if some day I’m not there to help or give her the advice she needs or something like that. I could really use some help here I’ve already recommended this website for her. I really need help of what to do for her because if I am worrying alot because of this. Please contact me for advice I should give to her. Thanks


Hi Five,

Supporting a friend who is considering self-harm is a valuable but difficult thing to do. It can be upsetting to see someone in such distress. It can also make us feel helpless, because ultimately, other peoples’ thoughts and actions around are not something that we can control.

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As you mentioned, you cannot be there to speak to your friend every time they face a moment of crisis. Feeling that you have a responsibility to “talk her out of it” when considering self-harm, places a big pressure on you. The expectation that you alone can stop your friend from self-harming 24/7, is not realistic or fair on you. You shouldn’t feel that you have to handle this responsibility on your own.

Jigsaw clinician
Keeping them safe and getting the right support is the most important thing right now.  

Tell someone

People who are considering self-harm need to have access to different types of support, so that they can feel safe in lots of situations. It’s important that your friend speaks to their family, or a trusted adult, so that they are aware of the situation and can help.

You could encourage and support your friend to do this. If they feel unable to,  perhaps you could talk to a parent about what is going on. This may feel like breaking your friend’s trust. However, keeping them safe and getting the right support is the most important thing right now.


Accessing professional support could be the right choice for your friend too. It’s great that your friend has reached out to our online support at Jigsaw. However, we are not a crisis service, because we are not open 24/7. Pieta house are a specialist crisis service that help people with self-harm, and are available to text and call at any time.

I wanted to give you the information above so that you can pass onto your friend if you wish. However, your friend’s mental health is not your responsibility. As hard as it can be, it’s up to them how and when they want to get help. Your own mental health is just as important, so I hope that you are taking the time for your own self-care and relaxation.

Best wishes,


Jigsaw clinician

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