I've recently started to burn myself on my wrist and although I've told my mentor what I've been doing I'm too scared to go into much detail about it. I'm worried that if I tell her then she'll pass the information on. How far will what I say to her go?
It sounds like things have been hard for you recently. And although you're worried about talking to your mentor, telling her anything about what's been happening was a brave step forward.
Self-harm, like burning or cutting, is often a way for people to cope with difficult emotions or situations. It is often a means of communicating difficult feelings that are hard to put into words, or even into thoughts. It can also be a way of releasing painful emotions such as rage, sadness, emptiness, guilt or fear. Since it's generally a private coping mechanism, it's possible that some people may feel too ashamed and unable to admit to anyone what they're doing.
Is there something in your life that's triggering the need to burn yourself? Is anything causing you to be anxious? If there is you might want to think about these issues individually. Sometimes there is no obvious reason for feelings of anxiety, so it's hard to know what is causing it. There may be certain underlying issues surrounding your behaviour, such as depression. If you are feeling depressed it might be useful for you to know that depression can be treated with and without medication. Your doctor (GP) will be able to discuss the medical and talking treatment options available, such as antidepressants or cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT).
Your GP should be able to talk through any concerns you may have. They may also be able to refer you onto more specialist help. There is generally a lot of stigma attached to any form of mental health treatment, but there is no need to be scared. Your needs will be fully assessed, so that you can then be offered the right form of help and support. They will simply ask you questions about how you have been feeling, in order to gain a better understanding and history of your feelings and behaviour. Try to be as honest about your experiences as possible, so that your GP can help you as best they can.
It is understandable you feel concerned about talking in great detail about your self-harming actions and your feelings with your mentor. But generally speaking, if you are 16 years old or over, then anything you mention should be kept confidential. Particularly in the case of visiting your GP, with whom anything you discuss will be kept private. You can also ask your mentor about the confidentiality they provide, so you're sure about what will and won't be passed on.
There are also organisations you can contact in confidence about self harm. The National Self Harm Network provides support to people who self-harm. Their website features a range of resources and also includes a message board. And the Bristol Crisis Centre for Women provides a helpline you can call on 0117 925 1119.
It can be really difficult to talk about painful feelings, but often people do find it helpful to share their thoughts with close friends or family. Talking to someone can help them understand what you're going through. Maybe if they knew more about your situation, they could support you and help you to recover. If this doesn't feel right for you at the moment and you feel uncomfortable speaking to your mentor, parents, GP, or your friends, you can talk to a volunteer in confidence at SANELINE on 0845 767 8000. They can provide emotional support and information to anyone experiencing a mental health issue.
Question answered by SANE