A voice and a choice for our mental health
It can be difficult telling someone about self harm, especially if you’re worried they will tell someone else. But talking to someone can often be a positive way of starting to come to terms with anything on your mind, at the same time as giving that person an opportunity to help and support you in any way they can. Usually what’s said between you and a professional (teacher, youth worker, doctor, nurse etc) should be kept between you both. If they are concerned about your safety, they may discuss with you the possibility of talking to someone else who could help. Some services have their own confidentiality policies, so there may be differences in how they respond. They should explain this to you, but if not, ask.
Doctors / Nurses
What you say is confidential: your parent or carer does not have to know. You have a right to privacy: even if you’re under 16, they should ask your permission before contacting anyone and let you know what is happening. The only time they will need to break confidentiality is if you or someone around you is at severe risk of danger (for example, considered likely to be going to act on thoughts of suicide). Remember health professionals are not there to trick you or betray you. They are there to make sure you are listened to, supported and kept safe, and they have a duty to do what is in your best interests. Check out our short film to find out about your rights, and also this website.
Teachers / Youth Workers
They are there to help you and listen to you, but may not have the necessary experience or training to be able to give you the best possible support. This may mean they refer you on to a counsellor or other health professional to make sure you have all the support you need. They have a legal duty to pass certain information on (such as physical abuse or self harm) but this may not have to be to a parent/carer.