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Calm Harm App

  • By Stem4

  • Free download from the Apple App Store or Android App on Google Play

Seeking Solutions to Self-Injury: A guide for young people

  • Martin, G., Hasking, P., Swannell, S., McAllister, M., & Kay, T. (2010). Seeking solutions to self-injury: A guide for young people. 

  • Developed in Australia


  • Free digital download

Self-Injury Outreach & Support (SiOS)

  • A collaboration between the University of Guelph and McGill University, we are a non-profit outreach initiative providing information and resources about self-injury to those who self-injure, those who have recovered, and those who want to help

  • Information for those who self-injure, including “What is self-injury?” “Am I alone?” “Why am I self-injuring?” “How do I get help?”


Self-Injury & Recovery Research & Resources (SIRRR) Website


Motivational Temporary Tattoos









Kaiko Spikey Sets

  • Wrist & ring spikeys that are made from a stretchy metal

  • Come in a range of sizes from S - XXL

  • Ideally suited to those that like strong sensory input

  • For deep & focused pressure to assist with self-regulation












Turtle Calm Buddi

  • Pocket sized anxiety-relief & grounding

  • Made in Australia entirely from recycled post-consumer plastic

  • Inside the shell has 2 surfaces: spiky & smooth to create a physical sensation & then soothe




Sheoak cones

  • There are about 50 species of Allocasuarina and Casuarina that are known as Sheoaks in Australia. 

  • Spikey "cones" which are actually a woody fruit grow on Sheoak trees

  • These spikey "cones" can be picked up off the ground around Sheoak trees

  • Free & environmentally friendly

  • The spikey surface of this woody fruit is very similar to the spikey surface of the Turtle Calm Buddi

  • Can be used for grounding, or to create a different physical sensation to mindfully attend to









The Paper Chain Technique

  • The Paper Chain Technique  arose on social media, and it's one Madeline strongly recommends (unlike the Butterfly Project).

  • This is a great technique because it understands NSSI as a coping strategy, and emphasises that it often takes considerable time and perseverance to reduce and then stop self-injuring, The white links do not need to be seen as a negative. Instead look at all of the coloured links, and ask yourself:

    • what did you do differently on those days?

    • what worked?

    • what didn't work?

  • Next time you have the urge to self-injure, try the alternatives, techniques or strategies that worked on those previous colourelink days. Understanding the inevitability of relapses (particularly early on) can help to reduce the guilt and shame associated with these relapses in your NSSI. 


What to do

  • For every day you go without self-injuring add a coloured link to the paper chain. Madeline recommends writing what alternatives or strategies you used on the actual coloured link for these days (if you had the urge to self-injure but didn't - well done!)

  • If you relapse and self-injure, just add a white link to the chain and carry on the chain without any disruption

  • Over time the paper chain will grow in length

  • You can see your progress, and see that even if you do relapse, there are still days you go without hurting yourself - the colourelinks.

  • Over time and through your recovery watch the number of colourelinks begin to increase, and the number of white links begin to decrease.

  • If you feel like hurting yourself, look at the paper chain and realize just how far you’ve made it. If you’ve resisted the urge to self-injure before you can do it again. ​

















                                   Note: thank you to the very talented designers at Dovetail Queensland who created this brilliant animation for my webinar (refer to Videos)


The Body as a Voice: List of Non-injurious Alternatives

  • Madeline has compiled this comprehensive list of non-injurious alternatives to NSSI over the past 15 years. Most of these ideas have come directly from young people who have self-injured.

  • People who self-injure do so for different reasons, and these reasons may even be different each time an individual self-injures. That is why it is important to have loads of different options to try when you have the urge to self-injure. If the first alternative you try doesn't work, try something different, and keep going until you find an alternative that works for you, or until your urge to self-injure has lessened in its intensity. This will also help to distract you from your urge to self-injure.

  • I recommend using a highlighter (in a colour that you like), and highlighting any of the alternatives that you think you could possibly try the next time you have the urge to self-injure as in the picture below.

  • Then get a red or black pen or marker and cross out all of the alternatives that you think would not be helpful, or may even further trigger your urge to self-injure. For example, if you are struggling with difficult memories, any alternatives requiring you to delve into your memories should be avoided. 

  • On a separate piece of paper, in a journal, or on your phone, rate the alternatives in a list from the most useful to the least useful. Keep this list with you and refer to it when you start feeling the urge to self-injure. 

  • Click on the PDF icon to download.









Harm Minimization for Nonsuicidal Self-Injury

Damage Limitation Techniques

  • This infographic provides information to help reduce the physical impact of NSSI.                                                     

  • It does not encourage the self-injury, NSSI is understood as a coping mechanism

      that is used to cope with intense & unwanted emotions (amongst other functions).

  • It is strongly recommended that before self-injuring you try a wide range of                                                          alternative coping strategies (try the List of Non-injurious Alternatives above).

  • Please exercise considered judgement before sharing this infographic with a young

      person who self-injures. Consider their age, how long they have been self-injuring

      and the frequency with which they self-injure. 









Shapiro, L. E. (2008). Stopping the pain: A workbook for teens who cut & self-injure. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

My bandaid 3.jpg
My bandaid 4.jpg
NSSI Alternatives 2.png
NSSI Alternatives.jpg
Spikey Tree 5.jpg
Spikey Tree 1.jpg


Beyond Blue

  • Self-harm & self-injury: Information for parents

  • Downloadable PDF

  • Australian resource


Information for Parents: What You Need To Know About Self-Injury

Seeking Solutions to Self-Injury: A guide for parents and families

  • Martin, G., Hasking, P., Swannell, S., McAllister, 2010. Seeking Solutions to self-injury: A guide for parents and families.  

  • Developed in Australia


  • Free digital download

Self-Injury Outreach & Support (SiOS)

  • A collaboration between the University of Guelph and McGill University, we are a non-profit outreach initiative providing information and resources about self-injury to those who self-injure, those who have recovered, and those who want to help.

  • Information for Parents & Families


Self-Injury & Recovery Research & Resources (SIRRR) Website


Hollander, M. (2008). Helping teens who cut: Understanding and ending self-injury. New York: Guilford Press.

Whitlock, J., & Lloyd-Richardson, E. E. (2019). Healing self-injury: A compassionate guide for parents and other loved ones. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Resources: News


Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation

  • Self-harm: School Support

  • Downloadable PDF


Orygen The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Health

School Professional Package by S.A.F.E Alternatives

Seeking Solutions to Self-Injury: The School Staff Guide

  • Hasking, P., Martin, G., Lee, M., Swannell, S. & McAllister, M.,
    (2010). Seeking solutions to self-injury: A guide for school staff (2nd ed.). Centre for Suicide Prevention Studies, The University of
    Queensland, Brisbane.

  • Developed in Australia


  • Free digital download


Self-Injury Outreach & Support (SiOS)


Self-Injury & Recovery Research & Resources (SIRRR) Website


Hasking, P., Andrews, T., & Martin, G. (2013). The role of exposure to self-injury among peers in predicting later self-injury. Journal Of Youth and Adolescence, 42(10), 1543-1556. doi: 10.1007/s10964-013-9931-7

Hasking, P. A., Heath, N. L., Kaess, M., Lewis, S. P., Plener, P. L., Walsh, B. W., . . . Wilson, M. S. (2016). Position paper for guiding response to non-suicidal self-injury in schools. School Psychology International, 37(6), 644-663. doi: 10.1177/0143034316678656

Kelada, L., Hasking, P., & Melvin, G. A. (2017). School Response to Self-Injury: Concerns of Mental Health Staff and Parents. School Psychology Quarterly. doi: 10.1037/spq0000194

Lewis, S. P., Heath, N. L., Hasking, P. A., Hamza, C. A., Bloom, E. L., Lloyd-Richardson, E. E., & Whitlock, J. (2019). Advocacy for improved response to self-injury in schools: A call to action for school psychologists. Psychological Services. doi:10.1037/ser0000352

Richardson, B. G., Surmitis, K. A., & Hyldahl, R. S. (2012). Minimizing social contagion in adolescents who self-injure: Considerations for group work, residential treatment, and the internet. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 34(2), 121-132. 



International Society for the Study of Self-Injury (ISSS)

Self-Injury Outreach & Support (SiOS)

  • A collaboration between the University of Guelph and McGill University, we are a non-profit outreach initiative providing information and resources about self-injury to those who self-injure, those who have recovered, and those who want to help.

  • Downloadable PDF SiOS Guide for Mental Health Professionals


Self-Injury & Recovery Research & Resources (SIRRR) Website

  • A wealth of information & resources on NSSI for schools, people who self-injure, parents, friends, counsellors, & youth serving professionals

  • Numerous PDFs available to download at no cost

Alderman, T. (1997). The scarred soul: Understanding and ending self-inflicted violence. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

Connors, R. (2000). Self-injury: Psychotherapy with people who engage in self-inflicted violence. Northvale, N.J.: J. Aronson.

Conterio, K., Lader, W., & Bloom, J. K. (1998). Bodily harm: The breakthrough healing program for self-injurers. New York: Hyperion.

Gardner, F. (2001). Self harm: A psychotherapeutic approach. East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge.

Gratz, K. L., & Chapman, A. L. (2009). Freedom from self-harm: Overcoming self-injury with skills from DBT and other treatments. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

Selekman, M. D. (2002). Living on the razor's edge: Solution-oriented brief family therapy with self-harming adolescents. New York: Norton.

Selekman, M. D. (2006). Working with self-harming adolescents: A collaborative strengths-based therapy approach. New Work: W.W. Norton & Company.

Selekman, M. D. (2009). The adolescent and young adult self-harming treatment manual: A collaborative strengths-based brief therapy approach. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Walsh, B. W. (2006). Treating self-injury: A practical guide. New York: The Guilford Press.

Wishart, M. (2018). Nonsuicidal self-injury. Video: QLD, Australia: Dovetail. 


Additional references referred to throughout this website:

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Anzieu, D. (1989). The skin ego (C. Turner, Trans.). London: Yale University Press. (Original work published 1985).


Anzieu, D. (1990). A skin for thought: Interviews with Gilbert Tarrab on psychology and psychoanalysis (D.N. Briggs, Trans.). London: Karnac.(Original work published 1986).

Crawford, T., Geraghty, W., Street, K., & Simonoff, E. (2003). Staff knowledge and attitudes towards deliberate self-harm in adolescents. Journal of adolescence, 26(5), 623-633. 

Emerson, L. E. (1914). The case of Miss A: A preliminary report of a psychoanalytic study and treatment of a case of self-mutilation. Psychoanalytic Review, 1, 41-54. 

Favazza, A. R. (1996). Bodies under siege: Self-mutilation and body modification in culture and psychiatry (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Freud, S. (1991). A note upon the ‘mystic writing pad’. In J. Strachey & A. Richards (Eds. & Trans.), The Penguin Freud library: On metapsychology (Vol. 11, pp. 429-434). Victoria: Penguin. (Original work published 1925).  

Kafka, J.S. (1969). The body as a transitional object: A psychoanalytic study of a self-mutilating patient. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 42, 207-211.

McLane, J. (1996). The voice on the skin: Self-mutilation and Merleau-Ponty’s theory of language. Hypatia, 11(4), 107-122.

Nock, M. K., & Favazza, A. R. (2009). Nonsuicidal self-injury: Definition and classification. In M. K. Nock (Ed.), Understanding nonsuicidal selfinjury: Origins, assessment, and treatment. (pp. 9-18). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.

Ribeiro, J. D., Franklin, J. C., Fox, K. R., Bentley, K. H., Kleiman, E. M., Chang, B. P., & Nock, M. K. (2016). Self-injurious thoughts and behaviors as risk factors for future suicide ideation, attempts, and death: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Psychological Medicine, 46(2), 225-236.

Walsh, B. W. (2006). Treating self-injury: A practical guide. New York: The Guilford Press.

Please note that Madeline does not receive any form of endorsement or compensation from any individual or organisation associated or affiliated with any of the resources listed above.
Resources are listed alphabetically not in order of preference.

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