0808 800 8088 FREE Monday to Thursday evenings from 7-10pm
Call us for confidential non-judgmental emotional support around Self-Injury
CASS Women’s Self-Injury Helpline is for women of any age and background affected by self-injury, whether their own or that of a friend or family member.
All calls are answered by female volunteers who have received specialist training. You can talk about anything you want to and we won’t tell anyone you called unless you tell us exactly where you are and that you are currently at risk of harm.
You don’t have to be in crisis or distress at the time you call, and you can talk to us for up to half an hour each time we are open.
As new volunteers come onto the service, part of their training is to listen to calls to learn from experienced volunteers. If you think this is happening when you call the helpline and you don’t want it to continue – just ask and we can stop it straight away.
How did the helpline work for you?
If you used our helpline then we would really like to hear what you think.You could give us some feedback via our online feedback form. Any feedback would be gratefully received and could assist us in our development of the helpline.
Who answers the phone?
All calls are answered by specially trained female volunteers. All volunteers do intensive training about self-harm and offering non-judgmental, non-directional support to callers.
What will happen when I call?
When you call we will answer ‘Hello Women’s Self Injury Helpline’ and then give you space to talk. We can offer you support for half an hour each time we are open and will let you know when we are coming to the end of the call. You can ask us questions about how the service works and we can send you information if it is useful.
Do I have to tell you my name?
No. We do not ask any personal information about you and we do not expect you to give it. We understand that sometimes people not knowing who you are can make it easier to talk about difficult things or about what is going on in your life. If you give us personal information and we think that you are at risk of harm or death we would have to tell someone what you have told us. Making the choice about whether you tell us who and where you are is up to you. We cannot trace calls.
Is it OK to talk about my self-harm?
Of course. We understand the issues around self-harm and hope that you feel able to talk about what you do and the reasons why you do it. We know it is can be confusing and lots of women who contact talk to CASS about this. We know it can be hard to talk about and often women contact us a number of times before they feel able to talk about self-harm or other sensitive issues.
Do I have to talk about self-harm?
No – we understand that for many women self-harm is a way to cope with other things that have happened or very strong feelings and that it may be useful for you to talk about those things. All of our volunteers have had specialist training around self-harm and will support you to talk about whatever you feel is useful when you call.
What if I don’t know what to say?
You don’t have to say anything when you call us – we know that it can sometimes be very difficult to know where to start or you might feel very upset or anxious. We will stay on the phone with you whether you talk or not and understand that making a connection with someone else in silence can be helpful.
What if I get really upset?
Lots of women who call us are very distressed and experiencing difficult emotions. We are here to listen to whatever you want to talk about and it is OK if you are feeling very upset or distressed.
I don’t know if what I do is self-harm – can I still call you?
Self-harm is a very broad area and our helpline is open to anyone who feels it could help them. We don’t ask people to say what they do and we don’t ask you to justify calling us. If you feel we could help you then you are very welcome to call.
What if I want to stop self-harming?
We always offer support around how you feel, but if you are looking to understand your self-injury, learn other coping strategies or ways of trying to stop self-harming we can support you with this too. We have lots of experience of working with self-harm and understand it is not easy to stop. We also understand that even if you have moved away from self-harm, you may still think about it or have urges to go back to it. We can support you with that too.
What if I don’t want to stop self-harming?
We understand that self-harm is a coping strategy for many women who call us and we don’t expect you to stop using self-harm unless you want to. We can support you to talk about how self-harm helps you – it is entirely up to you what you want to talk about.
What if I have hurt myself a lot? Do you give medical advice?
At CASS, we are not medically trained and do not give any kind of medical advice. If you have hurt yourself and you were worried, we would encourage you to seek medical attention by calling an ambulance or going to A&E or other medical support. If you are unsure what to do, you can call 111. They can give you medical support over the phone and advise you on what to do. If you have told us who and where you are and we think that what you have done has put you at risk of significant harm or death, then we would have to call an ambulance. We understand this might be frightening, but we will support you until we close. It is always your choice about whether you tell us your details and we will not ask for them. We are not able to trace your call or find out where are.
What if I am feeling suicidal?
Lots of women who contact us feel suicidal. We can support you and listen to your feelings about not wanting to live. If you have taken something or have injured yourself and you are concerned we would hope that you would contact emergency services. If you have told us your name and where you are and that you have taken action towards suicide or intend to right away, we would have to contact emergency services for you. It is always your choice about whether you tell us your details and we will not ask for them. We are not able to trace your call or find out where are. We hope that if you are still contacting us then a part of you wants us to listen and we will do that while we are open and give you details of other organisations to contact when we are closed.
What if I tell you about someone who is hurting me or someone else?
If you have told us who and where you are and you gave us details of someone who is abusing you or someone else, we would have to pass that onto the authorities. We would let you know that we would have to do this. It is always your choice about whether you tell us your details and we will not ask for them. We are not able to trace your call or find out where are.
If you have told us who and where you are and you ask us to report a situation where you are at risk we can do this. However, as we are only open limited hours we recommend the agencies below who are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are set up to do this.
0808 2000 2470808 2000 247 FREE
0808 802 99990808 802 9999 FREE
08001111 (Talk, webchat and email)
999 (emergency number) or 101 (non-emergency number)
Are there other sources of support I can access by telephone that might be helpful for me to use when the helpline is closed?
There are other sources of support that provide listening and understanding, both specifically about self-injury and about other issues please see the list below for suggestions.
Alternative Sources of Support
Local rate helpline 08457 90 90 9008457 90 90 90 .
24/7 for anyone in distress.
Local rate services 0845 766 01630845 766 0163
Information about a wide range of mental health issues.
Open 9.15am-5.15pm Mon-Fri.
National Rape Crisis
Freephone helpline 0808 802 99990808 802 9999 FREE.
Open 12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm daily.