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Self Harm And Cutting
Self Harm And Cutting
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Self Harm And Cutting

This video discusses the topic of self-harm and cutting.  It explains what self-harm is, things to look out for if you suspect a person may be causing themselves harm, reasons why a person may begin harming themself and how it can escalate. Additionally this video speaks to the importance of having a trusted adult be made aware so that they can intervene and get the individual the help they need. 

Youth

Have you ever noticed a friend wearing long sleeves on a hot day? Or maybe you have seen someone with a lot of small scratches or cuts on their skin all the time. Perhaps they say it was caused by the cat or some other strange excuse. Those could be signs that someone is inflicting harm on their body, sometimes in a form called cutting.

 

When a person repeatedly cuts or injures their bodies, they may be trying to cope with intense feelings or problems. They may be trying to find some relief from or control of very strong feelings of rage, rejection, sorrow, loneliness or emptiness. If a person is cutting or self-harming in another way, they need help coping with these feelings in a more healthy way. When the main issue the person is dealing with is not treated, the person may begin to self-injure more often and more severely to find relief. 

 

If you or someone you know is cutting or self-harming, it is important to speak with an adult you trust to get the help you or your friend needs and deserves. Telling another person for the first time about cutting or harming yourself can be incredibly difficult. But it’s important to find healthier ways to cope with the feelings that cause the self-harm. If you have a friend you think might be cutting, let your friend know you are concerned. You can reassure your friend that you won’t judge them and that they deserve to feel better. Offer to help your friend find an adult they can talk to, to get help.


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Parents

When people intentionally injure their bodies generally by scratching or using sharp objects to secretly cut along their arms, stomach or legs, it’s called cutting. Sometimes people will burn themselves, and often the injuries leave scars on the skin, which the person tries to hide under clothing. People who self-harm do this to control or feel relief from psychological pain, such as rage, grief, sorrow, loneliness, rejection or emptiness. Often these feelings are so intense, that the physical act of cutting or self-harm provides release although it can also bring shame and guilt for having hurt oneself. People who self-harm often start in their early to mid-teens.

 

Cutting or self-harm is not a healthy way to cope or manage one’s feelings, and it is extremely important that people get help with the underlying causes of self-injury to find lasting relief. Getting help can be very difficult for people who cut or self-harm. While the act of inflicting the injury can make a person feel some short-term release, it is often followed by feelings of intense guilt, shame and the desire to keep their self-harm secret from everyone else.

 

If you suspect your child is self-injuring or struggling emotionally, keep the lines of communication open with your child. Reassure your child that while you may not have all of the answers you will work with them to get them the support they need to feel better. Speak with your child’s health care provider to find a licensed mental health care professional. If your child is in a crisis, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

 

You can use the following conversation starters to speak with your child about the emotions they are experiencing:

You can use the following conversation starters to speak with your child about the emotions they are experiencing:
  • It seems like you have been really sad for a while. Can we talk about it and figure out what we can do together to make it better?
  • I noticed that you’ve been worried about X lately. I’d like to help you feel less worried.
  • I’m here for you when you’re sad, anxious or scared and want to do what I can to help. Let’s talk about ways I can do that.
  • It looks like you’ve been feeling bad lately. I feel sad and worried too, sometimes. There are ways to feel better.

Educators

When people intentionally injure their bodies generally by scratching or using sharp objects to secretly cut along their arms, stomach or legs, it’s called cutting. Sometimes people will burn themselves, and often the injuries leave scars on the skin, which the person tries to hide under clothing. People who self-harm do this to control or feel relief from psychological pain, such as rage, grief, sorrow, loneliness, rejection or emptiness. Often these feelings are so intense, that the physical act of cutting or self-harm provides release although it can also bring shame and guilt for having hurt oneself. People who self-harm often start in their early to mid-teens.

 

Cutting or self-harm is not a healthy way to cope or manage one’s feelings, and it is extremely important that people get help with the underlying causes of self-injury to find lasting relief. Getting help can be very difficult for people who cut or self-harm. While the act of inflicting the injury can make a person feel some short-term release, it is often followed by feelings of intense guilt, shame and the desire to keep their self-harm secret from everyone else. Young people may want to isolate themselves and may not disclose that they are self-harming. But if a young person discloses that they are self-harming, school counselors, educators and social workers must immediately report this and make sure district protocols are followed to get the student professional help. In this case, it is important to let the student know that you will work with them to get the support they need.

Discussion Questions

After watching the video with your class, process it using the following discussion questions:
  • According to the video, why might people self-harm or cut themselves?
  • Why is it important for people who are cutting or self-harming to talk to a trusted adult?
  • Who are some trusted adults that a person can talk with if they are self-harming or experiencing intense feelings or rage, loss or sorrow?
  • What are some things a person could say to start this conversation with a trusted adult?

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