Cutting & Self Injury

“I always cut deep enough to bleed, and I can’t stop myself. I’m afraid of people getting close to me, then rejecting me.” -15 year old

Self-Injury, or “cutting” refers to any sort of self-harm which involves inflicting injuries or pain on one’s own body. Once seen and treated as a suicide attempt, trained mental health professionals now define the act of cutting as an unhealthy coping mechanism designed to immediately alleviate tension, anxiety, stress and depression. In other words, when reality feels overwhelming, some turn to cutting themselves, several times a day, with sharp objects in order to relieve their inner pain.

Concerns should be raised in any of the following situations:

  • Increase in frequency and distribution of piercing and/or tattoos
  • Scarification and branding (any activity that involves burning or cutting the flesh)
  • Decisions to have body modification or procedures done under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Altered mood states
  • Poor self-image and self-esteem

Regardless of someone’s background, the common link in all self-injurers is the need for consistent, relationship-oriented support, nurturance and guidance. In addition to the constant struggle with the desire to cut one’s own body, eating disorders, hair pulling, piercing, tattooing and skin burning are other conditions that may co-exist with cutting.

If you or someone you know is inflicting pain upon their body, the following resources and services are available to help.


909-596-5921David & Margaret Youth and Family Services

24 hour number                                                                                                      
Residential and outpatient treatment program for self-injury, eating disorders and internet addiction. Substance abuse.

 1(800)-DONT-CUT or 800-366-8288Safe Alternatives

24 hour recording

Support for those who engage in repetitive self-harm behaviors.

615-746-7319Door of Hope 4 Teens

Sun-Thurs. 9pm-11pm EST                                                                              
Texting and hotline. Emails on website. Provides free advice and Hope line for teens who struggle with cutting and depression, eating disorders, bullying, and other emotional struggles.