Concerns about self-harm or hurting others

Concerns about self-harm or hurting others

Worried twenty-year old

If you are worried about self-harm or someone else's intent to harm others, please decide whether the situation needs immediate attention or if there is time to discuss your concern with others. In either situation, please do not keep it to yourself.  

Get Immediate Assistance

Always seek professional emergency assistance if a person’s life seems in immediate danger. If someone is acting violently, call 911 now and give the operator as much information as you are able. Your friend’s life and possibly others’ will depend on it. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides immediate assistance to both those in danger of hurting themselves and concerned others. (800) 273-8255 (TALK). 

If you are not trained in risk assessment—and most of us are not—do not take on an unstable or volatile situation on your own.  



If there is time to learn the basics of how to spot signs of self-injury or the intent to self-harm, there are excellent resources available.

Help someone else from the National Suicide Prevention Hotline tells you what you need to know.

Worried about a friend who is self-harming from is short, but good for the basic "what, when, how" facts about helping someone who may be hurting themselves. 

Mental health first aid: What you learn lays out guidelines that seem practical and sound. We cannot directly endorse the course, however, simply because we have not observed it. 

Know the warning signs from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has helpful information and many classes and support groups available.

Tips to help a friend who may be self-injuring from ULifeline, this self-harm fact sheet from NAMI, and self-injury/cutting from the Mayo Clinic are all good sources to learn about the signs, possible causes, and treatment for self-harming behaviors.