I Self Cut But Don't Know How to Stop

Published: August 07, 2017
Dear TeenHealthFX,

I self-cut. I know I shouldn’t, but I really don’t know how to stop.

Signed: I Self Cut But Don't Know How to Stop

Dear I Self Cut But Don't Know How to Stop,

TeenHealthFX hopes you are feeling proud of yourself for reaching out for help with this because it can be difficult to ask for help with something we are struggling with. FX can appreciate that it has been tough to stop the self-cutting on your own. That is definitely not uncommon. People who self-cut do so as a way to manage negative thoughts and feelings that come up. If there are underlying emotional issues contributing to those negative thoughts and feelings that have not been dealt with, that can certainly make it difficult to stop. In addition, many people who self-cut haven’t learned alternate, healthier methods to deal with these kinds of thoughts and feelings. So when they try to stop cutting, they are bombarded with very intense negative emotions and thoughts that they do not know how to manage in a healthy way.

That said, in order to effectively address self-cutting behaviors it is important to work with a mental health professional who has experience working with teens who self-cut. By meeting at least once a week with a reputable therapist, such as a clinical social worker or clinical psychologist, you can begin to address the underlying issues to lessen the intensity of the negative thoughts and emotions you are experiencing. You can also begin to learn healthier coping mechanisms to deal with these thoughts and feelings when they do come up. A therapist might also recommend some family sessions as well so that your parents/guardians can learn more about self-cutting in order to increase their understanding of what you are going through, as well as learn about effective treatment methods and ways to best support you.  

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

If you need some additional support, if you live in New Jersey you can call 2NDLFOOR, a confidential and anonymous helpline for teens and young adults, at 1-888-222-2228.  You can also contact the Self-Injury Hotline (information only, not a crisis line) at 1-800-DON’T-CUT, 1-800-366-8288.

TeenHealthFX would like to remind you that you are not alone and that reaching out for help is definitely a sign of strength. So please speak to your parents/guardians soon about scheduling a consultation with a reputable mental health professional. If you need help raising this with your parents/guardians, you can always ask for help from a camp counselor, school counselor or your primary care physician. And if you have any more questions or concerns, you can always write back to TeenHealthFX.  

Signed: TeenHealthFX