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.