It can be a very worrying time for you as a parent when you suspect that your child or teenager is harming themselves. Self-harm means harming yourself as a way of dealing with emotional distress. Sometimes distressing problems may feel like they will never go away. It can seem that things will never get better. This can be a lonely place to be. Some people use self-harm as a way to try to escape from or deal with pain or stress that they find difficult to tolerate in their lives.
If self-harm is something you use as a way of dealing with emotional pain, there is support available to help you find other ways of coping.
If you have a child who you suspect has self-harmed or you believe they are thinking of self-harming, you can get help from:
- General Practitioner (GP)
Find a local family doctor (GP) or health centre by visiting the HSE.ie online service finder. If it's late in the evening, night time or the weekend, contact a G.P. Out of Hours Service. G.P.s are also listed under ‘General Practitioners’ in the Golden Pages. Find out how a G.P. can offer support for mental health problems.
- Hospital services
Go to or contact the Emergency Department of your nearest general hospital if you have a child or teenager who has self harmed and needs medical attention. Hospitals are listed on the HSE.ie online service finder. You can also contact the emergency services by calling 999 or 112.
- HSE Mental health services
If your child or teenager has been (or is currently) supported by a mental health team, go to the Emergency Department or contact the service you are attending and ask for an appointment as soon as possible.
Pieta House offer support and counselling. A G.P. can recommend counselling services in your area. These might include free, low cost or private options.
- Listening service
Parentline.ie is a resource for parents who are experiencing difficulties, contact them on LoCall 1890 927277 or 01 8733500.
Samaritans is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone struggling to cope. For confidential, non-judgemental support please free call 116 123 in the Republic of Ireland or 08457 90 90 90 in Northern Ireland, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.samaritans.ie for details of the nearest branch.