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Forum > Miscellaneous > How to help when a child is cutting herself? ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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How to help when a child is cutting herself?
My son's friend revealed it on FB
Michelle T

Michelle T
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British Columbia CANADA
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Date: 8/17/12 1:21 AM

I know she is safe tonight, which is the most important thing right now.

S posted a sad poem about a family member who had committed suicide a couple weeks ago. Yesterday she posted a photo of her arms and the cuts she has made. Tonight I saw both previous posts as well of a post full of despair.

I know the posts are a call for help. School is not back in until after Labour Day, but I will call the school tomorrow too.

I do not know S very well. I do know she is 16, First Nations (unfortunately our community has the highest suicide rate in Canada) a local state of emergency has been declared.

She has been to our home in the past and is welcome here day or night.


Tomorrow I will be calling a friend who is a Social Worker with the Tribes.

I know it is a very private topic, but does anyone here have experience with youth who cut? I have looked online and it appears that cutting is not directly linked to suicide, but I am worried about this beautiful young lady.

------
Proud parent of a Dwight International School Honour Roll Student

Cerisa
Cerisa
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Date: 8/17/12 1:51 AM

You are right to be concerned even though cutting is not directly related to suicide according to statistics. It does appear to be related to anxiety and depression. Cutters say that this action relieves overwhelming feelings. Psychological counselling is recommended.

marec
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In reply to Michelle T <<
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Date: 8/17/12 2:26 AM

Many cutters hide their cuts so the fact that she posted them seems to be a plea for help. I wish her the best and hope you can help her without feeling traumatized yourself. Take good care!

------
my blog: http://kf-biblioblog.blogspot.com/
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solveg
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Date: 8/17/12 4:23 AM

I've worked with a lot of kids who were cutters, and I think you're going about it the exact right way. She has a lot of things she needs to work out before the cutting can stop...many people try to stop the behavior without dealing with the underlying issues. All that does is to hide the problem, which doesn't help the kid.

My experience working with tribes is that it can be hit or miss. Since you have a friend in the system, that's cause for optimism, but know that sometimes getting kids the help they need requires the stars to align in a perfect way.

I'm in the US, but I'll bet it's not so different in Canada.... there is sometimes a great distrust for getting involved in "the system", so it's good you're working on the tribal level, although I'll bet that's a bit confusing with so many different kinds of tribes in First Nations.

Sounds like you're approaching things perfectly. And it's true that cutting behaviors, while an indicator of underlying problems, doesn't usually mean that child is contemplating suicide. Edit: although if the child has a history of depression or mental issues, a family member committing suicide would make me watchful and concerned that she could have an attempt in the future. Counseling is important.
-- Edited on 8/17/12 4:25 AM --

hpsauce
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hpsauce
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Date: 8/17/12 8:11 AM

I am a teacher with First Nation students in Canada. Cutting is usually hidden, used as a release. First nations usually have many social services within their health centers. I would suggest contacting the health center on the reserve for guidance. Also CAS ...childrens aid. Cutters need counseling, and it is too difficult to be handled on your own...often there are outside circumstances causing the cutting, peer or family related. Please report your concerns so that the wheels can be set in motion. It's so hard to see kids go through this and I can empathisize with the stress you must be feeling. Thank goodness for people like yourself who are so caring and concerned. Bless you and good luck.

------
Island Couture http://islandcouture.blogspot.ca/

Michelle T

Michelle T
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British Columbia CANADA
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Date: 8/17/12 10:52 AM

Thank you for the supportive answers.

There are parallel Social Service agencies in my community. Regular for all members of the community and First Nations living off Reserve, and First Nations based for members of the Tribe living on Reserve. It is confusing, but I will make phone calls until I find the right people to talk to.

Her FB post was most definitely a cry for help.

I do not have the skills to 'fix' this for her, but I can help to put her in touch with the right people. I can also let her know that someone cares and will offer her a safe place to be if she needs it.

------
Proud parent of a Dwight International School Honour Roll Student

solveg
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Date: 8/17/12 11:42 AM

Canada confuses me in this aspect... I'm Métis, but it's not acknowledged in the US. There are different "kinds" of Métis, depending pretty much on location as far as I understand it. But there's still a sense of one cohesive group. Same with Inuit. But First Nations... isn't that about 600 different tribes? Do they all have separate governances, or are they kind of lumped together? Or am I misunderstanding it completely?

Courtney Ostaff
Courtney Ostaff
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Date: 8/17/12 12:11 PM

Here is the only thing that National Institutes of Mental Health had to say, and here is what the Mayo Clinic had to say. Good luck!

andrea.m
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Date: 8/17/12 2:41 PM

As a non-native living on a reserve, I would call the band office and ask the social services person (which looks like you will be doing) and you can take it from there. Welcoming her into your home is a great thing and you may find out her anxieties. Calling the school is iffy. Don't know where you are in BC, but where I live, the school system is very poor with dealing with any issues.

Michelle T

Michelle T
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British Columbia CANADA
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Date: 8/17/12 6:43 PM

Well I made the call to the Tribes Family Services Office. I spoke with a lovely intake worker.

We printed off the most recent FB posts and took them to her office. The ball is in their court, but I am sure she is in good hands now.

I also called the school on another matter and while on the phone let the school know that S was cutting and I had referred her to a SW. The kids are in private school, so there is a different take on this sort of situation. If they were in the regular school system I could not talk to anyone until the last week of August. The school secretary was sad to hear and will follow up with the SW.

As far as status, First Nations Governance etc, I do not think this the thread, nor do I have knowledge for that discussion. It is a fascinating topic with many facets.

------
Proud parent of a Dwight International School Honour Roll Student

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