Helping you get through tough times

Helping a friend who has hurt themselves

If you think a friend has hurt themselves, it can be quite a frightening and difficult thing to deal with.hyacinth by nikki

Getting help

If you think someone has hurt themselves, call an ambulance straight away. It’s important you keep your friend safe and stay with them.

For an ambulance, dial 999 or 112 if you’re in Ireland (this number can work from mobiles even without a signal and when the phone is locked).

If you’re outside Ireland, look in your local phone book for the emergency services number.

What to do if someone has hurt themselves

Don’t wait

Call an ambulance straight away.

Don’t feed them

If they’ve taken something, you don’t know what effect food or drink could have on them. It’s not a good idea to give someone a stimulant, such as coffee, as it will add more stress to their body.

Don’t move them or put them in a shower

Moving them could be dangerous, and a change in body temperature could cause them to go into shock.

Keep them awake

Try not to let them sleep or fall unconscious, as it may be harder for the paramedics to help once they arrive.

Don’t leave them alone

Stay with them unless you have to leave to call emergency services.

Illegal substances

If your friend has taken an illegal substance and you call an emergency number, this doesn’t mean Gardai will be involved. Their concern will be to make sure your friend is OK.

Calling an ambulance is the right thing to do. You won’t get into trouble for it.

If you think a friend has overdosed, see our page for more information.

Managing your reaction

It can be frightening if a friend tries to harm themselves. Talk to a friend or family member or seek face-to-face help as this may help you work through what’s happened.

Understanding why someone wants to try and hurt themselves can be difficult. Remember, it’s not your fault. The most important thing you can do is to get them help and let them know you’re there if they need you.

This article was last reviewed on 03 May 2017

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