I often try to talk about mental health issues. I’m passionate about de-stigmatizing mental health issues and raising awareness. The fact is that these issues are not going away; in fact, in many ways, I believe they’re getting worse.
Cutting isn’t new. It was around when I was a teen, but few people knew what it was back then. Nowadays, many teachers know to keep an eye out for it, but I think many parents are still in the dark.
Cutting is a way that some adolescents use to relieve stress. They feel so much emotional pain that they want to make it into something manageable, and cutting can be a way of making that pain manageable. Or alternately, they feel numb, don’t feel human. The cutting can be a way to feel something.
Cutting can be “practice” for suicide, but it can be about the things I just mentioned. Suicide attempts in adolescence has risen for the past several years, and is the third leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 24.
As a crisis worker, adults often think their children won’t talk to me. But they do. There’s nothing magic in what I do. I come in, treat them with respect, tell them exactly why I’m there, and then I listen. I don’t play games or pull punches with adolescents. Quite frankly, they probably know more about drugs, sex, and swearing than I do.
If there’s an adolescent in your life, know about cutting. This article is a great place to start. Not every adolescent will cut, but most of them have heard about it, or know someone who does.