Hannah asks :

I read my older sister's book when she was gone, and I feel even guiltier then I did before. The reason of that is because I read a part where she writes about her self-harming. I'm seriously worried, and don't want my sister to get so stressed into hurting herself. I don't even know if I should tell her. It makes me so upset that I felt like crying loads.

Yin replies

Reading your sisters diary is an invasion of her privacy, however if you think she is in serious danger of hurting herself then you should tell someone. Speak to your parents or to someone at school who might be able to help. She can also visit the GP who will be able to refer her to a specialist who can talk through with her about her motivations for hurting herself.

Self-harm is usually down to a lack of self-esteem, which can lead to depression and is a way of expressing feelings in ways that you might not understand. Perhaps you could talk to her before going to anyone else and tell her what you have done. She may be angry but tell her it was only because you care about her. Let her know that help is out there for her. She can call The Samaritans or Mind to talk to someone about why she feels she has to do this to herself and maybe if she was able to express her emotions to someone then this will slowly diminish over time. 

Yang replies

Perhaps you could be more subtle if you don’t want to tell her that you have read her diary and simply leave some information about either of the above charities on her bed. That way you are letting her know that someone in the house is aware of her feelings. Rather than ambushing her with their thoughts, it is giving her the option to seek the help she needs on her own. She might want to find out who in the family left the info there and offer up some information in order to find the source and open up a bit.

You could write her a letter. I find this a great way of communicating with people as you don’t leave anything out and can sometimes write things down that you are afraid to say face to face. If you do decide to talk to her be careful and understanding about what you say, she will feel delicate and need your full support. 

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