For over 10 years, teens have been asking us questions on every topic imaginable. While we are no longer taking new questions, we have a wealth of information we would like to share with teenagers.
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How can I help friends who are cutting?
Posted on: 06/22/2004
I have quite a few friends who believe cutting is an answer that is normal. Unfortunately, in my school, this is "not a issue" and that what I say couldn't possibly be true. They don't do anything. And sad enough, parents are the main reason for their cutting. What answer do I have left?
Submitted on 06/10/04 at 10:07:22
It is good that you ask questions and try to learn all you can on this topic, and any problems you encounter. Cutting and self-harm have become more talked about recently, and do seem to be on the rise for teens. It can be a longterm, repeated response to stress, anger, depression, anxiety, or it can be experimentation; it can also be a sign of real trouble, and in some cases is followed by more severe self-harm attempts. So just because it has become more common or is more talked about among peers does not mean that it is at all normal; it is a sign that the person has not developed effective coping skills, and may be under abnormal stress.
If family dynamics are stressful, the teen can still get help; he/she should confide in a trusted adult, including a teacher or counselor who can provide names/places to go for teen/family counseling; teen hotlines can also give referrals. In any case, listen to your friend's problems but do not support problematic behavior; you can advise them to seek counseling and support.