Help (From My Blog) Teen Girls Who Cut Themselves forums

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Sep 1, 2007
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I have an awkward situation and I need some help. I just started substitute teaching and it looks like i may be in this room awhile. I did an introductory assignment with the class and through the assignment I discovered that one of the girls in my class cuts herself.

I am not sure if it is something she did in the past or something she currently does. She is a rock fan and the rockers tend to wear a lot of bracelets which cover up her arms. I did something stupid and mentioned this to the assistant principal looking for guidance and he wants me to tell the social worker about it.

I have two things I am worried about. First, making sure this girl has the help and support she needs. Second, not violating her trust. I really wanted a chance to talk to her, but I have to do it at a time when there aren't other students around. I don't want to just show up to the classroom with the social worker. I do want to discuss it with her. My heart goes out to this girl who seems amazingly talented and my main concern is what is best for her. Any advice?

Your doing 7th graders right?

I've come to realize schools don't do anything about helping girls or guys for that matter who cut. I've been to different middle schools and have had a friend at both & i told the counsler and none of them did anything. My best advice is either ask her to stay after class for a moment or too to 'chat' with her about it. I mean no matter how you did the rest of the class will know you wanted to talk to her. So either ask her to stay after or give her a note saying "see me after class".

I have no idea what else to say... but i hope you find something to do!

.. stuff like this bugs me so much! I hope somebody else knows something better todo!

Although I understand the violation of trust issue, if she told you about it in an assignment that might be her way of reaching out for help. I've dealt with cutters who would never have let anyone know. Only because I was a nurse examining them did I find out. But that's just my experience. Now as the teacher, I think you have an obligation to report it. Talking to her first might be a way to approach it so you can find out if this is something she did in the past but if she is still doing it she needs the help of a mental health professional. You might regret it later if she went beyond cutting and you had not reported anything. She may be angry, but if she gets help her anger will be worth it.

I agree with Jess. Slip her a note that says see me after class or approach and ask her quietly. I know when I was in those grades, kids would gossip alot to each other so the less others know the better plus she will trust you more if your discreet in your approach.

I do hope she gets the help she needs.

With this day and time, and the rapid changes that have went on in the past few years with the education system as a whole, I would not suggest any private meeting with the student alone. She is obviously impressionable, because children now that cut themselves are following the "emo" trend, and its really for no reason at all. As a substitute teacher, if I were you, i would let the social worker know, and let them handle it from there. You do not have an obligation to her, you have one to the school IMHO, to protect her and protect her from influencing other children.

Honestly, I was a cutter from the age of 10 to age of 23 and it was not emo influenced. Report her to a social worker and let them do their job, before she ends up accidentally doing more harm by following a trend.

Aprill, how do you know she's doing this to fallow a trend? I hear that from a lot of people but going to middle school and making friends with few amount of people who will acutally say the cut, because most of the don't just come right out to say it isn't for a trend. Most of the have at home problems, and/or school related problems.

And We also don't know if this girl was just saying it to get help or saying it be completely rude. Not everybody takes cutting themselves seriously.

What is she gets the social worker and it's all a big lie?

I'm a recovering self harmer myself, I think I will always be in recovery. I personally don't like the term "cutter" although I'm not offended when you guys use it or anything. It's just that "cutter" was used in a derogatory manner when I was going through this.

It's hard enough as it is to be a person who self harms. Everyone believes you do it for attention. And now there's this stupid trend. When I started self harming, "emo" did not exist. It is a recent thing.

Whether she's doing it to blend in with the fad or not, if she's self harming, she needs help. I think you should tell a social worker.

I said it was my opinion, but that may be the case
The ones that I have seen are doing what they read and saw..................

Jess even if it is a big lie, Jenny is the adult teacher and has to follow through on something like this. If it isnt a lie, then maybe the girl will be on her way to getting some help. Either way she has a problem.

Jenny, it's is so great that you care so much about this girl. However, I just resigned as a school nurse. Do what the law says. You must report it. You can be held liable if you are aware that a child is harming themselves and keep it to yourself. You are in a terrible position--but you have no choice. Protect yourself and the child: report it. That puts you in a terrible place-have been there many times-but this is what you must do.

Thanks for the great help
. A few concerns I can cover.

First, I didn't mean any slight by calling her a cutter. The funny thing is that was the best job anybody did on the assignment. I know enough to know this is a common problem that has gotten more common lately because of media. There is no way I would not report this, but what I really want to do is discuss it with her first. Instead, I am going to discuss it with the social worker first and explain my concerns. I want to make sure this girl gets any help she needs while her privacy and trust is created. She doesn't strike me as very emo, but its a possibility. I don't know her that well.

I'm grateful for this board. I was going to talk to her and then talk to the social worker. Now, I'm going to talk to the social worker first and explain my concerns. Hopefully, we can take care of this together in a discrete and professional way that gets her help. Those of you who suggested doing it quietly, that's how I try and deal with all student problems. I am glad to know my instincts are correct. Thanks again! Of course, I welcome further insight. Gee, who'd have thought the crossdresser would bring everybody down?

Originally Posted by JennyMcL /img/forum/go_quote.gif First, I didn't mean any slight by calling her a cutter. I know
I'm glad you're going to speak with the social worker. I hope the girl in question gets the help she needs.
I cut for years and years.

Still do when I'm panicking or having an emotional meltdown, but the thought crosses my mind a lot more than I ever care to admit.

Follow the law, but at the same time, make sure she knows that you're not against her, and that you are on her side.

That's my plan. It is the reason I wanted to talk to her first, but I think if I can explain my thoughts to the social worker it'll be OK. I think I'm a bit overwhelmed because I didn't expect this kind of problem on my second day lol.

Oh just wait.....the situations that you see going on in children's home lives will stress you out.....I used to be an assistant and I have seen it all. My mother has been a teacher for the past (ok I dunno, I am 24 and she has been teaching since I was in kindergarten) and I cant begin to tell the stories that she comes home telling.

By the way, I was hoping to get 2 or 3 second opinions. Once again the women of this forum have overwhelmed me with their compassion and wisdom. I am watching To Sir With Love on TCM right now. I figure it'll get me in the right mood to deal with a tough situation tomorrow.


Today I talked to the counselor and explained the situation to her. Then when I took the class down to another room for my prep, I asked the girl to stay back and help me. Then when we got upstairs I sat down and talked with her. She said she hadn't cut herself, but she had thought of it and had thought about suicide. I told her the social worker would be contacting her and I told her she was going through unique circumstances, but that I have had other students who harmed themselves in the past and that is why I thought it might be a good idea for her to talk to somebody. She was agreeable. I gave her some papers that had to go down to the office so that she had cover if any students saw her. The only problem was later in the afternoon they paged my class to ask her to report to the social worker's. Her mom is coming in tomorrow to talk to the social worker and hopefully between the 3 of us, we can get her the help she needs. She is painfully shy and I wish she could find a friend. I think that would help a great deal. Things didn't work out exactly as I would have wanted, but they went OK.

let me give you some advice being the girl who cuts her self.. i was a cutter.. and hate to say it but once a cutter.. you always think about it when life gets hard.

i hated that people took it a step to far.. like the social worker. cause then they try to take you from your parents.. which in some cases the parents could be the ones inflicting the child to cut themselves.. i approve of your actions.. depending on how she cut herself tell you everything if its straight across.. its for attention. if its up and down she tried to kill he self

if she trys to cover it she is ashamed if she is open she is crying loud for help. i would take her to the side and make sure she knows you are there for her .. and you care that you are not just here for her to get her in trouble. that you want to help her on what ever is making her do this.. its not good for her.. especially if she cuts to deep and accedently kills her self.

other may just be extreamly depressed. or is being abused or sexually and doesnt know how to go about saying i need help and cant feel anything or even feel like a person so is cutting themselves to feel like a person instead of an object.. i could go on and on.. i would talk to her alone with the worker and explain to her how you are wanting to help and this is the time to tell if there is something to tell.. and if she says nothing.. watch her actions as she says this. tell her.. you are more then a teacher you are a friend and see her wanting help and you want to help.. if she doesnt say anything good chance is she is depressed.. call her parents and explain what you have discovered i could go on and on..

Thanks Missy. She hasn't cut yet. That was my big fair. She (like a lot of girls) has her whole wrists covered up with bracelets and such so when I saw the paper I figured it wasn't just fashion. I did see her wrists and they haven't been cut. She hasn't cut herself yet, but she said she often thought of it and thought of killing herself. I think we had a good talk and my take it on it was, the only reason you put something like that in the very first assignment you turn in to a new teacher. I hope we can get that help for her.


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