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Intentional self-harm

Sometimes it can feel like life is too hard and difficulties can seem overpowering. No matter what your concerns are it is important to let someone know so they can support you. To speak to a trained mental health professional for immediate support contact:

If you, or someone else, is at immediate risk of harm do not hesitate to contact emergency services on 000.

While data included on this page assists in highlighting the incidence of intentional self-harm in WA, Injury Matters recognises that behind every number are stories of Western Australians and the broader community who have been impacted by intentional self-harm.

How can we reduce intentional self-harm?

Just like physical health, mental health is vital to human health and wellbeing. Mental health includes social, emotional and psychological wellbeing, not just the absence of illness.

Given that poor mental health is the main causal factor for intentional self-harm, keeping mentally healthy is key to preventing intentional self-harm.

As outlined by Mentally Healthy WA, there are three core components to becoming more mentally healthy; act, belong and commit.

  • Act – doing something to keep active in as many ways as you can, physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.
  • Belong – doing something with someone to keep connected to friends and family.
  • Commit – doing something meaningful.

Despite some factors placing individuals at higher risk of intentional self-harm, including; a traumatic life event, an existing mental health issue or physical illness, it is important that all Western Australians dedicate time to staying mentally healthy.

If you think someone might be at-risk of intentional self-harm, don’t be afraid to ask them directly as this shows them that you care. If the person says that they are considering intentional self-harm or have self-harmed, allow them to express how they are feeling and reinforce that you are there for them. If you think they would benefit from talking to someone else about how they are feeling, encourage them to get in contact with their GP or reach out to a crisis line such as;

What support is available to those affected by intentional self harm?

Physical and psychological recovery from an incidence of intentional self-harm can take time and is different for everyone.

Psychological and/or medical treatment may be needed to support the individual in addressing any underlying factors contributing to their poor mental health, so it is important that the individual discusses healthcare options with their GP. 

Intentional self-harm is one of the main predictors for suicide. Even if the individual does not express any intention of dying, an assessment by their GP or other health professional is recommended. 

Lifelong positive mental health behaviours are important in helping to keep all Western Australians mentally healthy.

Organisations and programs

Injury Matters Intentional Self-Harm Resources

External Resources


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 3303.0 Causes of Death, Western Australia, 2019. (2020).
  2. Epidemiology Directorate, Department of Health Western Australia. Health and Wellbeing of Adults in Western Australia 2020, Overview and Trends. (2021).

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