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Overdoses are dangerous. If you take

one, no matter what the tablets are,
how many you took or whether you
feel perfectly well or not, get medical
Most people regret their overdose
very quickly afterwards, and if there
are no immediate effects from the
overdose, they try to forget about it.
What they dont realise is that damage
takes time to become clear, days,
or weeks in some cases, with liver
damage being a major problem.
Get medical help as soon
as possible.
Your safety
Useful Numbers
Thorneywood, Self-harm Team:
0115 8440505
NHS Direct:
0845 46 47
0845 7909090
Text Samaritans
07725 90 90 90
E-mail Samaritans
If you have any concerns about
any aspect of your or your relatives
care here you can raise this in the
frst instance with a member of the
If you feel that your concern has not
been resolved you can contact the
Patient Advice and Liaison Service
(PALS). PALS work with the staff to
ensure you and your relatives and
carers have information and a way
of resolving issues and concerns
you may have. You can call PALS
Useful Websites
on: 0800 015 3367
or email:
The PALS service will deal with your
concerns as soon as possible. If
you would like to make a complaint,
please address this to:
Service Liaison Manager
Duncan Macmillan House
Porchester Road
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
Making a Complaint
Using old, used blades and/or sharing
them can increase risk of infection
and even diseases such as H.I.V.
Some people have even cut in parts
of their body causing damage to
tendons or blood vessels. What many
people dont realise is that cutting
with a clean, sharp blade causes less
damage than using other implements,
in that it helps avoid scarring and
These incidents do not necessarily
cause death, but can affect the rest of
peoples lives. People who cut dont
usually want to kill themselves, so
damage limitation is important.
If you have cut please try to clean it
well, put a clean dressing on and keep
it dry. If it is a bad cut get medical
help as soon as possible.
Please remember to always put
your safety rst.
a Young Persons Guide
Highly Specialist
Specialist &
Self-harm is the
symptom of a problem, not
the problem in itself.
Positive about mental health and learning disability
These are only examples.
Many people self-harm for
many different reasons.
If you self-harm, you probably
know why. Even if you dont, you
know what it does for you, and
how it makes you feel. Lets be
honest, if it didnt do anything -
you wouldnt do it, would you?
If self-harm is simply an
attempt to problem solve, then
alternatives can be found.
What it is:
A release
A way to control feelings
Expressing distress
What its not:
Attention seeking
Try to look at the problem calmly and
rationally and think of ways to solve the
Taking a few minutes to think about
alternatives before acting impulsively
can make all the difference.
People often regret an overdose almost
immediately afterwards, and may
cause themselves long-term damage
as a result of taking tablets. It is surely
better to give yourself the chance to do
something else instead than it is to have
to deal with the consequences of acting
on the spur of the moment.
Cutting is a different issue to taking
an overdose. It can become a longer
term problem in that people may
become dependant upon it as a way of
managing diffcult feelings.
Cutting works, for the person doing it,
in a number of different ways. On one
level cutting can represent emotions
that cant be expressed ie a way of
punishing or releasing feelings held
Take fve minutes to clear your
Talk to a friend if you cant talk to
your family.
Listen to some music
Exercise is a good way to relieve
pressure, for example go for a run,
a swim or do some exercises in
the house
Try to write your feelings down.
On another level cutting has a
chemical effect. Certain chemicals in
the brain are released which act like
the bodys natural painkillers. These
chemicals, known as endorphins
also have a relaxing, calming and
mellowing infuence.
People cut in response to high levels
of diffcult feelings, stress and anxiety.
They are upset, cut, and can feel a
sense of release and calm afterwards.
However the same effect can be
produced in other, less damaging
ways. Cutting can cause scarring,
infection and cause permanent
damage to tendons. As an alternative,
holding an ice cube in each hand until
it melts is painful, and will cause the
same chemical reaction as cutting
without any permanent damage.
Exercise will also have the same
Getting to the root of the problem
The thing to remember with self-harm
is that it is the symptom of a problem,
not the problem in itself. If you break
a leg, you can ease the symptom,
i.e. the pain, by taking painkillers, but
the problem, i.e. the broken bone still
Self-harm is about managing feelings
caused by underlying problems. Some
of the addresses on the back can
offer you confdential guidance to fnd
the help you need to start working on
that problem. Solve the problem, and
the symptom will go away.
Here are some coping strategies that have helped many young people.
What can you do to help yourself?
This leaet isnt about trying to stop people from harming themselves.
It is about nding alternatives to self-harm, and about making it as safe
as possible if no alternatives can be found at the moment.
Whether people cut themselves, or take overdoses, it is often because they
cant think of anything else to do. Overdoses often occur as an impulsive
decision when under lots of pressure. Some people say that they wanted
to die, but they may mean that they were trying to deal with a problem or
change the situation and thought that being dead would make the problem
go away.
People often regret an overdose almost
immediately afterwards, and may cause
themselves long-term damage as a result of
taking tablets. Holding an ice cube in each hand will cause the
same chemical reaction as cutting without any
permanent damage.