Some of the subjects I cover in this column are more sensitive than others.

Self-harm is a much-misunderstood topic, but one that needs to be covered, in order to continue helping stop the stigma when it comes to talking about issues surrounding mental health and well-being.

In 2018/19, ChildLine provided 13,406 counselling sessions about self-harm across the UK, which is an alarming figure.

However, contrary to popular belief, self-harming is not just something restricted to our youth.

A recent survey conducted by the mental health charity Mind, found that 26 per cent of adults in the UK have self-harmed at some point in their lives; this would indicate that 1 in 4 of you reading this column may have done so.

So why do people harm themselves? It is a complex issue that affects many individuals, particularly those already struggling with mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, or trauma.

Some people may hurt themselves as a way of gaining a sense of control over a situation they feel unable to cope with.

Equally they may use it to punish themselves for something they feel they may have done wrong, or because of something they do not like about themselves.

For others it is a way of escaping from, or dealing with something which has happened in their past.

Whatever the reasons, self-harming is a serious matter, it is also one which can easily escalate.

Many people who harm themselves do it secretly, making it difficult for others to notice. Others may have easier-to-spot visible signs, such as scarring.

Contrary to what many may think, these should not be regarded as attention-seeking actions. They may well be a cry for help, but that is something completely different. It is important to differentiate between the two.

For someone to stop self-harming, the root-causes behind it need to be addressed; professional help is required.

One common factor with many mental health issues is the fact that people feel ashamed, or they feel completely isolated, making them reluctant to reach out for help.

One of the reasons for this column is to help break down barriers and stop the stigma when it comes to having conversations about our mental health.

So, if today’s column relates to you, or someone you know, then please be assured there is help available.

There is a national website run by a charity, which offers information and coping strategies, it could prove to be a useful first step for someone needing help - - as well as offering some great coping strategies they can signpost people to other services.

I always say that if you are struggling then see your GP or call the Samaritans on 116 123, or text SHOUT to 85258 they really can help and will not judge you, you are not alone.