TESS text and email support


For women in the UK affected by self-harm.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 7pm – 9.30pm
Text us on 07800 472908, or for Webchat click on the box on this page or email TESS.

If you don’t know how to start talking, just text or email “hello”.

We reply to all messages. Our aim is to text back within half an hour and to email within 48 hours during our opening times.

Sometimes when we are very busy messages do wait for longer and occasionally we have to reply to emails or texts the following day. You will receive an auto message from us letting you know if we are experiencing a high number of texts and emails.

Questions you may have about using TESS for support

I don’t know how to start talking

It is a brave step to contact a service like TESS for the first time and often people just send a message in saying ‘hi’ or ‘hello’. We will reply to all of the messages that we receive; if your message comes in when we are closed we will send you an auto message
letting you know that it has arrived.

On the next shift that we are open you will receive a personal reply. Initially the person may explain a bit about TESS and how we work. It is up to you how much you say. There is no pressure to say everything at once, you can take your time, or if you want to, you can say a lot straight away. Sometimes people find it hard to find the words – if this happens for you remember that you are not the only person who experiences this.

Do I have to tell you my name?

No. We do not ask any personal information about you and we don’t expect you to give it. You might find it easier to talk to someone you don’t know, especially about difficult things or issues connected to your family or friends.

If you have given us identifiable information (for instance your name or location or phone number) and you tell us something we are concerned about – something like if you are at risk of immediate harm or death – we would have to tell someone what you have told us.We cannot trace calls or IP addresses. 

Please bear in mind that if you give us any information that stays on our system. That information could be linked together at a later date to find you if we were worried about your safety. As an organisation we share safeguarding concerns across our services.

Making the choice about whether you tell us who and where you are is up to you. 

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 often confusing and lots of women who contact talk to TESS about this. We know it can be hard to talk about
and often women contact us a few times before they open up properly.

I want to stop self-harming.

We can support you 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.

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.

Will you be able to tell me how to stop self-injury?

Lots of people contact us and want advice on how to stop their self-injury. Unfortunately there is not one magic solution. There is a lot of information on this page to help you start to understand your relationship to self-injury and we have some resources to help you identify other ways of expressing your feelings. By talking more about it, we hope it might start to make sense and then you might be able to put other things in its place.

Is it ok to contact you more than once?

Some people contact TESS once, others text or email regularly for a short while, some stay in regular contact for a very long time and some people come in and out of contact with our service – all of these ways of using our service are completely fine, it’s up to you to feel
what works for you the best, you can contact us as little or as much as you like.

What if I have hurt myself a lot? Do you give medical advice?

At TESS, we are not medically trained and do not give any kind of medical advice. If you have hurt yourself and are worried, we would encourage you to seek medical attention by calling an ambulance or going to A&E or getting other medical support.

If you have told us who and where you are and we think you at immediate risk of significant harm or death, then we would call the emergency services. We understand this might be frightening, but we will support you until we close.

If you don’t want to tell us where you are, you can call 111. They can give you medical support over the phone and advise you on what to do.

What if I am feeling suicidal?

Lots of young 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 given us identifiable information  we would have to contact emergency services for you. However it is always your choice about whether you tell us your details. 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. 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.

Childline 08001111 
The Police 999 (emergency number) or 101 (non-emergency number)

Further Information about TESS

You can read more about TESS on these information sheets. They download as PDFs.

Information Sheets

About self-harm

Medical Information

Getting support

Dealing with suicide

About Abuse

Thoughts and Feelings