What is Self Harm?

Self Harm is a term that is used to describe a coping mechanism that some people use to help them to cope with every day life.

There are many other terms that people use but the most common are “Self Harm”, “Self Injury” and “Self Mutilation”

There are various methods of Self Harm and no one method is more important than any other.

Methods can include things like cutting, burning, biting, scratching, punching walls or yourself and pulling at your hair.

Sometimes people mistake Self Harm as a suicide attempt or as a cry for help but this isn’t usually the case. Often Self Harm is used to help the person to cope better so that they can release their feelings and emotions without feeling the need to take it further than Self Harm.

What is the purpose of is a safe place you can go to discuss your Self Harm with people who have similar feelings and experiences. It’s here so that you can talk about Self Harm and other related topics. It is somewhere for you to give and receive support.

It often helps just to know that you aren’t the only one feeling like this and it may be a relief to you to find that you aren’t alone.

The people of ASS-H aren’t medical professionals they are just ordinary people like you and me. They won’t be able to diagnose you or treat your symptoms but they can offer you support whenever you need it and they can also offer what some medical professionals can’t — true understanding. we’ve been there and done it and really do know how it feels.

What can I post here?

You can post basically anything you like here. There are some exceptions but other than that you can post whatever you would like to. If it is about or related to Self Harm then we would love to hear from you!

Please bear in mind that some people are triggered by what they read so if you go into detail then please spoiler your post so that people can choose not to read your post if they think they may be triggered.

What can’t I post here?

There are very few things that you shouldn’t post, but these things include the following:

Advertising that has little, if anything to do with ASS-H
ASS-H isn’t a binaries group so please don’t post attachments to the group
Off Topic
While these are allowed the main aim of the group is to talk about Self Harm so please bear this in mind
This is where you post your message to more than one group. While this is OK in exceptional circumstances it really shouldn’t be done if you can avoid it. If you are replying to a cross-posted message please take out any groups that aren’t relevant or are inappropriate to your reply and post only to the groups where your message is relevant.
This is basically an argument on the group between 2 or more people who disagree on something. Flaming should be kept off the group as much as possible.

In addition to these, posting of private emails between individuals is totally unacceptable unless all parties agree and it is relevant to the group.

What is considered “off topic”?

Off topic posts are messages that have nothing to do with Self Harm. While these are generally not acceptable it is OK to post something off topic if you would like support from the people on ASS-H.

What is considered “triggering”?

This is different for different people.

Generally, if you go into detail about your Self Harm or why you did/want to do it, then this could be considered to be triggering.

You may also want to consider what else your post contains that might be triggering, for example if you talk about rape or abuse your post should be spoilered as these issues may trigger some people.

This is basically what is understood by “triggering”, but if you are unsure of anything or you have any questions about it then the people on the group will be able to help you.

What should I “spoiler” and which messages should I add a “spoiler” to?

A spoiler is a warning to people that reading your message may trigger them.

To spoiler a post you should put the word “spoiler” somewhere in the subject line and then leave some blank lines before you start your post. It is a good idea to use * or another character in the space leading up to the start of your post — like this:


Make sure that you leave enough blank lines so that people can’t read your post without scrolling down.

It is also a good idea to mention why it’s spoilered, for example for Self Harm, suicide, rape, abuse etc.

There are no real rules as to which messages you should spoiler. It may help if you can take a step back from your post and try and read it through someone else’s eyes. If your post talks about suicide and a suicidal person read it, how would they react? If they would react badly then you need to spoiler it.

It can take a bit of getting used to but it is better for everyone’s safety if you can spoiler any triggering posts.

There are some subjects that should always be spoilered. These include:

  • Detailed descriptions of Self Harm
  • Graphic talk of cuts/scars/burns/blood
  • Descriptions of what you would like to do if you are urging when you make the post
  • Anger or rage (including self hate)
  • Any type of religious post
  • Any type of abuse (including rape and domestic violence)
  • Eating and/or weight issues

There may be others too, but the ones listed above must be spoilered.

Who can post?

As long as it is relevant to the group then everyone is welcome!

It doesn’t matter about where you live, how old you are or what your gender is. Race, sexual orientation and diagnosis don’t matter. If you have something you would like to say to the group then we would love to hear from you!

What is “X-No-Archive: Yes” and how do I use it?

X-No-Archive is a directive to archiving programs/services, such as Google Groups (formerly Deja News) not to keep (archive) a copy of your message.

You may want to include the X-No-Archive header in your post if you want to reduce the risk of your articles being stored for future retrieval.

X-No-Archive usually needn’t be added as a header, you can add it on a line of its own to the top of your post.

The whole line should read:

X-No-Archive: Yes

It is extremely important to check, when replying to and quoting a post, whether the original author used X-No-Archive. If they did, you must include it in your post, or at the very least not quote anything they said. If you don’t, and the original author is worried about privacy, they may well request that you either cancel, or supersede your post without quoting.

Adding X-No-Archive: Yes to Outlook Express

Adding X-No-Archive: Yes to Agent

Go to the group menu, then click default properties and go to the post tab. Check ‘Prevent usenet messages from being archived (X-No-Archive)’ and ‘Observe X-No-Archive requests from the original message in followups’.

Surely you are encouraging Self Harm?

Nope. Nobody in the group would encourage or recommend Self Harm. We know only too well how it feels to be a Self Harmer so we wouldn’t encourage anyone to do it if they weren’t already harming themselves.

Self-Harm is a coping resource. we need to do it so that we can cope.

That doesn’t mean that everyone should be a Self Harmer, in fact it is preferable if you have other ways of coping so that you don’t need to turn to Self Harm, but this is our way of coping and we need it right now.

If you are a Self Harmer you aren’t “weird” or a “freak” and you definitely aren’t alone.

I don’t want to give up Self Harm yet — can I still post?

Yes! Definitely!

As long as you aren’t glorifying Self Harm and you spoiler any posts if necessary, then you are more than welcome to post!

Please bear in mind that everybody is on the group for different reasons. Some people may be trying to stop harming and others may have already stopped. There are also others on the group that, like you, don’t feel able to stop yet

I don’t Self Harm but I know somebody that does — can I ask for advice and support?

Yes! Definitely!

ASS-H is here to help and support anyone involved with Self Harm in any way and we welcome the relatives and friends of Self Harmers.

Many people will be glad that you are actually trying to help your friend or relative and that you’d like to learn more so that you can understand them better.

Have I done something wrong? Nobody is replying to my posts!

There could be a number of reasons why this has happened:

Your message may not have appeared on everyone’s servers. Sometimes they can play up and they sometimes don’t show all the posts to everyone.

It could be that people are unsure of how to reply, although most people will send a hug if they are unsure of how best to help you.

Your post may have been thought provoking and people are still thinking about what you have said.

There may not have been anyone online when you made your post. The people on this group are from all over the world but sometimes it just happens that there isn’t anyone online at the same time your post came through.

People may prefer to email you with their reply if they don’t feel comfortable posting it to the group.

There are many reasons why people may not reply but it is very unlikely that they are ignoring you.

Don’t give up hope — give people a little bit of time and you should get a reply.

Someone has replied to my post but they really upset me. What do I do?

Everyone has different views on things and sometimes those views clash on a newsgroup.

If this happens to you then if possible try and ignore the part of the post that upset you or try to tell them that you are hurt by what they have said.

If possible please avoid a flame war. If this is likely to happen then please email the person off the group and try and sort it out that way.

I don’t cut or burn, I use another method — am I still allowed to post?


Although cutting and burning are the most commonly talked about, all Self Harmers are welcome here.

There are various methods of Self Harm and what works for one person may not work for someone else.

All forms of Self Harm are accepted and talked about in ASS-H.

I don’t harm myself regularly — am I still welcome?


It doesn’t matter how often you harm yourself. If you are looking for advice or support then you are welcome in ASS-H no matter how often you Self Harm.

I’m into Acucullophallia (being cut in BDSM), am I allowed to post about it here? I’m also a Self Harmer — what am I allowed to post about?

This is a support group for people who harm themselves as a way of coping. Posts about BDSM aren’t welcome here unless you are being forced into the act and you are not enjoying it or it is part of a discussion to do with Self Harm.

If this is the case, talk to the person who is doing it to you about how you feel first and then maybe mention your situation to the current members of ASS-H to see how they feel about it.

If you are into acucullophallia and you are also a Self Harmer then you are more than welcome to post here!

I’ve got some information on a Self Help group that I think might help. Can I post about it to the group?

Posting information about Self Help groups is against the Charter for ASS-H.

If you have some information you think may help someone then it is best to email him or her personally with the details.

I’m looking for some websites on Self Harm — do you have any suggestions on where to start looking?

Other than websites (which will be mentioned at the end of this question) there are lots of other good sources of information about Self Harm.

It might be worth looking for books in your local library and your doctor might have some suggestions too.

There are loads of websites about Self Harm. you could try searching for “self harm” or “self injury” in one of the many search engines online.

Please make sure you are safe before you read these (or any) Self Harm sites as some of them can be triggering. Bearing this in mind, some good sites to start you off are:

I’d like to talk to somebody in real time. Do you know of any chatrooms?

There are loads of chatrooms available on the internet, but to get you started you may like to try here:

I’m worried about Tetanus — do you have any info?

The vaccine makes you resistant to Tetanus but you are never totally protected from the bacteria that causes Tetanus.

The bacteria is everywhere and is often fatal which is why it is so important for everyone to be vaccinated and to make sure that all boosters are up to date.

If you have been vaccinated against Tetanus and you do come into contact with the bacteria, the resulting illness is usually less severe and highly unlikely to be fatal.

As a Self Harmer it is especially important that you keep all your vaccinations up to date as the bacteria that causes Tetanus thrive on the dead skin and tissue for their food and they rely on a lack of oxygen to survive.

If you are a cutter then the best way to avoid Tetanus is to use a clean (sterile if possible), sharp instrument and keep the cuts as shallow as possible.

I’m not sure how to look after my injuries — do you have any suggestions?


  • As mentioned in the previous answer it is important that you keep your Tetanus vaccinations up to date.
  • Wash a fresh cut carefully using sterile cotton wool if possible. Use a fresh piece each time you wipe the cut and wipe away from the cut (from the edge of the cut outwards). Use more sterile cotton wool and dab it dry then apply antiseptic cream using a fresh piece of cotton wool.
  • Close the edges of the wound as close as possible — the closer the sides are the less risk there is of serious scarring. Use Steri-Strips (if possible) to hold the edges of a deep cut together. If you don’t have any Steri-Strips then a good alternative is to cut some tape into thin strips to hold the cut together.
  • Cover the wound with a dressing — gauze and tape is usually a good idea but you could also use a bandage.
  • Keep the cut as clean as possible. Infections mean delayed healing and more chance of scarring.
  • Avoid the sun if you can as UV rays can cause reddening.


  • Make sure your Tetanus vaccine is up to date.
  • Run the burn under cool running water for at least 10 minutes.
  • Do not cover the burn as the dressing may stick to it.
  • If the size of the burn is bigger than an inch (approx 2.5cm) either in height or width then you need to get yourself checked out.
  • If the wound blisters then you also need to get the injury checked out.

As a final suggestion, if you are at all worried about your injury, please get medical advice. it’s better to get checked out and find out that you are OK than to not be seen and for something to go wrong.

If your cut is spurting, please phone for an ambulance and get medical attention straight away.


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