WHETHER it is cutting themselves with scissors, razors or even paper clips, many youngsters have self-harmed and feel ashamed of the marks left behind.

But thanks to a pioneering skin camouflage service, doctors are hopeful teens in the town can get their confidence back with a cream which can significantly reduce the appearance of self-harm scarring.

Great Sankey woman Rachael Johnston, who started self-harming as a way of dealing with her anorexia when she was at school, thinks it will make a difference.

The 21-year-old said: “There’s still a lot of stigma around self-harming and in the summer when everyone is wearing short sleeve tops a lot of people who have self-harmed will still be covering up so the creams will help put a bit of normality back into lives and stop them being worried about being judged.”

Rachael said she used make up in the past before nights out to cover up her scars and had not self-harmed for more than 18 months before stress at work and the death of a supportive colleague led to her cutting herself again four weeks ago.

She added: “It’s mostly my arms I have cut but I have also done it to my legs and stomach and use anything sharp whether it’s razors, scissors, knives or I have even grabbed a paper clip without thinking about it.

“When you’re in that position you don’t realise it’s hurting because you’re feeling that numb.

“I went to get my eyebrows threaded and couldn’t believe how much it hurt, I thought if I could feel that then what’s a razor doing to me.”

A variety of triggers can lead to self-harming but 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust staff hope the service, launched to coincide with World Mental Health Day, will improve confidence and well-being.

Dr Sandeep Ranote, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, said: “We first piloted the creams in Wigan and four young people told us that they swam for the first time in several years and two other young people felt confident enough to go to their high school prom as a result of the cream.”

Funding has been secured for cream prescriptions to patients of all ages as part of a mental health care recovery package.

For more details e-mail sandeep.ranote@5bp.nhs.uk or caroline.stuart@5bp.nhs.uk.