Health & wellness

Cutting and self-injury warning signs

Studies indicate that roughly 13 percent to 25 percent of high school students have intentionally harmed themselves, with the behavior becoming chronic in an estimated
6 percent. Often, a self-injurer will try to hide the wounds. Here are a few things to look for:

- Unexplained or clustered scars or marks

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Fresh cuts, bruises, burns, or other signs of bodily damage

Bandages worn frequently

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- Inappropriate dress for the season, such as long shirts or long pants worn consistently during summer

Unwillingness to participate in events that require less body coverage (such as
swimming)

Constant use of wrist bands

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Odd or unexplainable paraphernalia such as razor blades or other cutting implements

- Physical or emotional absence, preoccupation, distance

Social withdrawal, sensitivity to rejection, difficulty handling anger, compulsiveness

Expressions of self-loathing, shame, and/or worthlessness

SOURCE: “The Cutting Edge: Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Adolescence,” by Janis Whitlock, Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior in Adolescents and Young Adults.
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