A Cry for Help

A Cry for Help

What do I do when my friend is hurting herself?
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Q. A girl I don't know too well showed me and my friends a poem she wrote. In it, she basically admitted to cutting herself. Should I do something? Or is it not my business? What can I do?

A. If she allowed you to read her poem, she is looking for help. My suggestion is that you talk with her. Ask why she wrote it and simply let her know you're concerned. Also, don't promise you won't tell anyone—because if she is cutting, an adult needs to know.

In fact, encourage her to talk to someone—a school social worker or psychologist—about her struggles with self-injury. If she is resistant, or you feel you can't talk with her at all, share your concern in confidence with a school counselor.

Since cutting is so prevalent, I'd like to say more about this topic. Typically, a cutter is a person trying to find a way to deal with their inner pain. Many people cut for relief from emotional pain or numbness. In this mixed-up way of thinking, cutting is a way to feel something or punish themselves.

As friends of those who are hurting, we need to communicate that the right way to deal with problems is to "cast our cares on the Lord and he will sustain you" (Psalm 55:22, NIV).

Jim is an author, longtime youth worker and founder of HomeWord, a group seeking to honor God through strong families.

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