There’s a game at school and if you and your children are very lucky you won’t know it.
It’s called 99 Burns and, as the name suggests, involves young people hurting themselves.
It’s a silly game and probably a passing phase for most, but that isn’t always so.
Lizzie, of Spalding, describes herself as a “recovering” self-harmer, although she also says that’s not completely true.
She had years of what she calls “in depth trauma and physical harm” and says: “When thoughts come back to you from the past you need something to get rid of that pain. To this day you still believe you should have something, somewhere; a burn, a cut or a bruise.”
There is a misconception that there is such a thing as ‘safe self-harm’, but Lizzie is anxious to challenge that, saying there is no such thing.
The mum who spoke about 99 Burns, Michelle, says her son continued to burn himself when his friends had stopped, partly because of his other health problems.
She says: “When he’s anxious he continues to do it. It hurts, and he doesn’t want to do it.”
George Scott, of Pinchbeck, has personal experience of the pain that self-harmers can do to themselves and to their families.
That led him to do wider research and what he discovered made him realise that sufferers and their families weren’t always getting all the support they needed.
In response, George has set up Spalding Self-Harm Self-Help Group.
George said: “There is treatment, but people have to be pointed in the right direction. I thought it was about time a group was set up to bridge the gap between professionals and the general public to see if we can bring them together and share information.
“It’s a secretive illness and it’s always had a stigma attached to it.
“People want to talk to someone who has experienced it and find out the reasons behind it.
“This isn’t a cure, but it’s a start to see if we can do something about it.”
Monthly meetings are held at Spalding’s Johnson Community Hospital and the next one is on Wednesday, July 1 (2-3.30pm) and everybody is welcome to go along.