My friend cuts her hands often

28 May
Rashmi R Gupta


My friend cuts her hands often. She is my classmate and in her teens. She loves the attention that she gets out of it. How can someone do this painful dangerous act? How to get her out of this?

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Responses 11

  • Manaswini Venkateswaran
    Manaswini Venkateswaran   Jun 03, 2017 05:16 PM

    The thing you need to remember here is that this kind of behaviour, even if it's 'just for attention' is extremely harmful and almost definitely a cry for help. There are several other ways to get attention and the fact that your friend is resorting to this is disturbing. 

    Talk to her and try to get her to open up to you about what's really going on with her. There is probably something going on in her life which she is not telling you about. When people engage in self-harming behaviours, it could be for attention, yes, but sometimes they do it to reduce the unease they feel due to emotional turmoil. Sometimes they do it to have a sense of control, as they feel like they don't have control over anything else in their lives. 

    So you need to examine the situation closely. Is there anything or anyone in her life that's causing her distress? That could very well be a cause of her behaviour. You could try suggesting that she talk to someone in authority about it, such as a teacher you trust or a counsellor. This process may be difficult because at first, she may resist wanting to do anything about it. You need to let her know that she can trust you and that you only want the best for her. 

    She may also not want to see anyone because she fears judgement, but you'll need to do some convincing on your part that everything she says will remain confidential and that she's not going to be judged for approaching a mental health professional. 

    I hope you manage to get through to your friend soon. All the best!

  • Alveera Sheikh
    Alveera Sheikh   Jun 01, 2017 12:20 AM

    Self-harm is quite a serious act. People who self-harm generally give the reason that it makes them feel relieved and calmer, and this very phenomenon has been proven by several researches that note self-harm releases endorphins which helps in reducing pain. At times, self-harming can get addictive due to the relief it offers to the self-harmer and how it helps them in re-establishing control over their emotions. But since you mentioned that your friend does it for attention – it could be that she does not receive the attention she needs from her caregivers.

    However, more than anything, you should try helping your friend as self-harm as an expression of something going on internally for a person. Some ways to help a person who self-harms can be:

    • Try talking to them about how they feel and be calm, open and honest. It would be better if you prepare yourself before asking, as it does happen that the person does not know how to approach the self-harmer.
    • Do not be judgmental or make them feel guilty about what effect their actions are having on others.
    • Show them the concern that you want to help them out.
    • Be compassionate and considerate about their feelings, even though you do not understand or find it difficult to accept what they are doing.
    • Understand that it is a long and difficult journey to stop self-harming. A person is willing to stop only when they feel they are ready to do so and accept that they have a problem.
  • Rhythm Makkar
    Rhythm Makkar   May 30, 2017 07:52 PM

    Hello. I hope you're doing well.

    First of all, it is not right to assume that your friend cuts her hand because she likes getting the attention. She might be going through something you are not aware of. The last thing a person who self harms wants is to be accused of something of this sort. You might be right but even if she does this for the attention, she is going through something very serious and deserves unconditional support. I feel that you should try and talk to her and ask her what problems she's facing. You should tell her that she can trust you. You should explain to her how self harming can be very dangerous. You should try and include her in activities that will help take her mind off her problems for a while. If she doesn't listen after many attempts, you should either take her to your school's counsellor or tell her parents as this is a very serious problem and should not be avoided. Lastly, you shoud just be there for her. Support her and be there for her as she needs you the most at this point in her life. 

    I hope my response helps you. Have a nice day. 

  • Kuhu Siddharth
    Kuhu Siddharth   May 28, 2017 10:58 PM

    Teenage girls are often found to self-harm, and researchers attribute the reasons to a variety of reasons such as depression, anxiety, stress. The real cause is that sometimes the emotions become too much to handle and people want to take it out in any way they can think of; though of course, the origin of the problem would be stress, anxiety, etc. The core motive behind the deed is often "I wanted to feel something other than my emotions".
    Unfortunately, due to the glorification of self-harm and depression in mainstream media, there are girls out there under the impression that they will gain something out of it- whether it be popularity, attention, or anything else. Also, most people often diss such behavior as attention seeking, mainly due to the stigma revolving mental health. But you should keep in mind that it takes a lot to consciously hurt your body. So, there is a possibility that she is doing this for a reason deeper than just 'gaining attention.'
    If you are her friend and wish to help her, please consider the following. First and foremost, do not treat her as a "mental patient" but as a person who is in deep pain. It helps if you consciously try to keep all judgments aside. Second, be there for her. Ask her if you can do anything that might make her feel better, and mean it. If there's a possibility of getting her the necessary help, then try your hardest to see that she gets it. Mostly, just be a supporting ear, it goes a long way. Do not give unsolicited advice, do not become a bodyguard and watch her every second. Give her space, give her love, it will be alright.

  • Aparna Kanmani
    Aparna Kanmani   May 28, 2017 10:48 PM

    In my opinion, your friend doesn't harm herself for the attention. People who cut or or harm themselves go through intense emotional distress and choose cutting to be a way of releasing her emotional burden. It is a strange feeling as if the pain of the wound covers the emotional troubles that haunts them, atleast for a short span. Some people who injure themselves claim that "it is better than feeling nothing". However, this relief is temporary, like putting band-aids where you need stitches. Within a matter of time the taunting emotions start to roll back to the surface where another act of self harm follows. This can be addictive and put her into a negative loop. 

    Firstly, Don't judge her. Understand that it is something she cannot help. She finds a strange comfort and relief in what she is doing. Learn more about the problem which will equip you to help her better. 

    Try to gain her trust. Tell her you are worried about her and would like to help her. Let her know you will be available whenever she needs you. Try not to act rude or anxious or scared. The key is to make her understand people really care about her.

    Encourage her to communicate more. Have a conversation about what pulled her into the habit of cutting. Help her release the emotional burden and hear her out completely. It will lighten her head and make her feel better.

    Help her substitute the so called stress relieving habit with something soothing. Encourage her to listen to music, cuddle a pet, have a warm bath, or things like painting or drawing(even if it is just scribbling and doodling randomly), etc. 

    Most of all, tell her parents what she is going through and what has been bothering her so long. Recommend her to visit a professional who can help change her behavior for better. 

  • Rachna Lakhanpal
    Rachna Lakhanpal   May 28, 2017 10:22 PM

    The act of self-harm is essentially a cry for help and that's what you need to provide your friend with. There is always an underlying issue which is causing this behaviour. It can range from depression to coping with stress. 

    From what I can tell, you're a teenager as well. And so I would encourage you to involve a trusted adult in this situation---be it your class teacher, her parents, your parents, or the school counselor. 

    Behaviours like this one should never be ignored. 

    That being said, you should be kind towards your friend and try to pinpoint why she is harming herself. Has she gone through a trauma? Is she being sexually abused? Is she under too much stress? Try and go to the root of the problem and help her resolve it. 

    I strongly suggest that you ask your friend to go to therapy or take her to the school counselor to address the issue. 

    Tell your friend that she's a beautiful individual who deserves to live a long and happy life and that she shouldn't harm herself. Tell her how it makes you feel, looking at her like that and encourage her to get help.

  • Prasha saggu
    Prasha saggu   May 28, 2017 09:52 PM

    Self-mutilation or self-harm is very common among teenagers. It may be associated with certain disorders like depression and borderline personality disorder.It is believed that teenagers and patients report relief from stress and pain after harming themselves. And it is also believed that they are analgesic, especially women, i.e., they don't experience much pain and problem while indulging in such acts. It must be noted that the only solution to this problem is reaching to the core cause of the problem, like trying to reduce anxiety due to exam pressure, avoiding feelings of grief pertaining to some specific reasons. One should try to seek professional help in order to overcome such obsessions. 

    Social support is extremely important at this time. It is essential to be by the individual's side and help her deal with the stressful and situations which evoke anxiety. The person should be dealt with love and care rather than pity aur anguish which may add on the the person's problem. 


  • Arushi Adhikari
    Arushi Adhikari   May 28, 2017 09:12 PM

    Mostly people do self harm when they are in stress or depression, usually doing this act gives them pleasure. This is due to they think they have done something wrong even they haven't, this feeling usually occurs when one get's cheated or has been ditched, they think that they have done something wrong for which they should be punished. Due to which they start doing self harm like cutting their hands, beating themselves etc. The pain which they get after this usually gives them pleasure which is completely wrong act, you should ask her to stop this immediately whenever she is doing this. as after sometime it may lead to major mental problems and as now she's cutting her hands if it won't be stopped then may be after sometime it may lead to major self harms, which can actually effect her. What you can do is try to talk to her, and try to be as much friendly as you can. Ask her that why she's doing all this? Is there any specific issue behind it? And even if she doesn't tell or stop this act then convince her to take counselling, she needs counselling and ask her to do meditation for relaxment so that she doesn't commit such things again. Try to communicate and understand her, it will definitely work out ♥️

  • Nandini Ajay Kumar
    Nandini Ajay Kumar   May 28, 2017 05:45 PM

    There can be various reasons for this - deprived of love, wants to be a part of a social group, wants to get the attention, love and care of a loved one or a romantic partner, is depressed, is insecure about something, feels inferior about something, etc. She might be actually doing for attention but the reason behind seeking attention can be anything from small to big. But understand that whatever may be the reason, is really big and important for her and is bothering her a lot.

    In this, what you can do this is inform her parents or guardians immediately. Secondly, try talking to her and get to know that what is it that is bothering her so much. Third, consider taking therapy as this can escalate to another level. With time, her self-harm might take up high levels which can be dangerous for and for those around her as well. Take care of as she needs love, care and constant support.

  • Felicia crystal Rajan
    Felicia crystal Rajan   May 28, 2017 04:09 PM

    The only way you can help her is by showing her that you are there for her, that you care about her. Tell her it hurts you when you see her in pain. There can be many reasons which may be the reason for her actions,  but we can't say that she does it for attention or maybe she is deprived of love and affection so by doing things like this she can get people to notice her and that might give her some kind of satisfaction. So what you should do is tell her that you love her and you are there for her I think that would help her. People often just want some love and they don't really care about how it comes to them. Don't let her ever feel that she is alone and if the situation gets out of control then please don't be scared to ask for help.  

  • Aanchal Setia
    Aanchal Setia   May 28, 2017 02:32 PM


    Self harm is a dangerous coping mechanism used by people unable to deal with situations surrounding them. It might be a cry for help and often misuderstood as ways of getting attention in teens. I know it is  painful to see your friend going through it and it might feel that she is doing so for attention. In order to help your friend, you need to understand the real reason behind the self harm. Even if it is attention, then understand the reason behind the need for attention for your friend. Doe she have friends? Is she insecure about not having friends? Is she bullied in any way? How is her family atmosphere? Is she inspired by some celebrity indulging in self harm? There can be multiple reasons behind self harm or behind her need for attention.

    Identifying the problem is the biggest task you have. If you are unaware about her personal affairs and really wish to help her, try to ask her about it. Tell her how you feel when she induldges in self harm and see if she is mistaken that nobody cares about her. Prove her wrong. Also, always remember there are things you can help someone with and sometimes your friend needs support of adults too. If you are able to undertand her problem but unable to help her with it, reach an adult for help. If you are unable to comprehend her probelm at all, seek help from others.

    There is nothing wrong in asking help for someone who needs it. That doesn't make you a backstabbing friend or a  coward, that makes you mature enough to understand that the situation demands more than you will be able to offer. 

    Try to have a conversation with your friend. Let her know how you feel about her coping. Make her remember that she is important and people care for her. There is no need to indulge in cutting.

    Seek help from her parents, teachers, elder sibings(if any) if the situation demands it. 

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