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Cutting & Self-harm

About Cutting & Self-harm

Three high school students walking

Injuring yourself on purpose by making scratches or cuts on your body with a sharp object—enough to break the skin and make it bleed—is called cutting. Cutting is a type of self-injury, or SI. Cutting is more common among girls, but guys sometimes self-injure, too. People may cut themselves on their wrists, arms, legs, or bellies. Some people self-injure by burning their skin with the end of a cigarette or lighted match.
When cuts or burns heal, they often leave scars or marks. People who injure themselves usually hide the cuts and marks and sometimes no one else knows.
Self-injury is not new. It's also not a very common behavior. But lately people are talking about it more. As guys and girls hear about cutting, they may feel curious about it and why people do it. Because it seems a little bit forbidden, some younger teens may think that cutting might make them seem daring, grown up, or popular.  (Opposing Viewpoints)

Narrow the Topic

  • What are some of the psychological reasons for self-mutilation?
  • What are some of the effective treatments for cutting?
  • Is cutting or self-harm a new phenomenon?
  • Are teenagers at greater risk for cutting than adults?
  • What are some effective prevention and education efforts employed to decrease cutting?
  • Why do people intentionally injure themselves?
  • What are the most common forms of intentional self harm?
  • Why are teens often victims of this self destructive behavior?
  • How is this related to other psychological disorders?
  • What is meant by the statement that "self-mutilation is a coping mechanism"?
  • What are some of the feelings associated with this behavior that classify it as an addiction?
  • Does cutting lead to suicide?