How to Help a Friend Who Cuts

Cutting is a form of self-harm and most of the times it is a cry for help. It is done by people who are depressed or lonely; in most cases, they don’t have any intent for suicide. The cause behind it can be physical, sexual or emotional abuse or a dysfunctional relationship. These people are not very good at handling stressful situations and are not able to express and share their inner fears and insecurities with anyone. Here are a few tips on how to help a friend who cuts.

12 Ways to Help a Friend Who Cuts

1.      Try to Talk About It

If you notice any cuts on a dear one or a friend and are concerned that they might have cut themselves, try to talk to them. Keep trying but do not push them if they are reluctant to talk and change the subject immediately. Be sincere and let your friend know that you are there and will not be judging them for anything. This way they'll know that if they want to talk, you're always there to listen and help.

2.      Understand Your Friend's Pain

Make sure your friend knows that you understand their pain. If they tell you about the problems and hardships they are facing, try to understand their perspective, which is usually the first step for how to help a friend who cuts. Their life might seem perfect to you but you never know what a person is going through in reality unless you understand their perspective.

Offer them a shoulder to cry on and say the right things like "You really suffered a lot and I want to help you find a way to deal with it without hurting yourself." As for statements like "Why did you do that? Your life was so perfect." better avoid them as it may give your friend the impression that you do not understand their pain.

3.      Set a Good Example

We all go through tough times in our lives, some people are strong enough to deal with the stresses and some are not. Every one of us is different in our approach to cope with hard times and this is what makes us human. If you are a strong person you can inspire others by staying calm and composed and setting a good example so they can follow you.

4.      Be Compassionate

If you are concerned about a friend who cuts and want to help them, you need to be very careful. The best thing is to be compassionate and understanding. People who self-harm are very vulnerable and often feel immense guilt and embarrassment. Try to be sympathetic and compassionate and do not blame them or get angry at them. You can help them greatly if they trust you and share their fears with you.

5.      Be There for Them

encourage help

People who cut tend to isolate themselves. And you can help calling your friend often to check how everything is going. Make yourself available within reason so that you two can enjoy some quality time together, which is a great way for how to help a friend who cuts. If they know they can talk to someone without any fear they can open up to you, soon or later.

6.      Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help

Professional help is strongly recommended for people who self-harm. Try to encourage your friend to talk to a counselor. You can give them recommendations if you know about someone who is good or can help them find the right therapist.

7.      Engage Them in Any Productive Activity

You can encourage your friend to be more active. Being physically active can be a great way to boost and elevate mood and is good for health. Instead of getting lost in negative thoughts they can practice yoga or meditation. Encourage them to go outside and enjoy the outdoors. If they are interested in any particular sport like cycling, swimming or running, encourage them to take part in these.

8.      Stay Patient

People who practice self-harm have some deep rooted issues which are not resolved overnight. If you really want to help them you need to be patient and supportive. They get used to cutting as a coping mechanism and might not stop immediately but with time and help they will get better.

9.      Suggest Good Reading Material

good reading material

It is observed that people who cut themselves feel awkward in social situations. They often feel uncomfortable in a crowd and socializing is hard for them. If they like to read you can suggest some uplifting and good reading material to them. This will help them to relax and will keep their mind occupied in a positive way.

10.  Remove Dangerous Items

Keep all the knives and blades out of reach if you are living with your friend. If they are on their own, talk to them about keeping all the sharp objects like scissors, knives, blades and other things in any other room. If they are kept out of reach they are likely to change their mind while searching or looking for them.

11.  Provide Some Healthy Distractions

It can be hard to fight the urge to cut if someone is alone or on their own. If these people are busy in healthy activities they will feel less lonely and isolated. You can take them for a hike or a daily walk. If they like to be creative encourage them to pursue their interest, which can be anything like painting or music. Good TV shows and movies can also lift the spirits and are healthy distractions.

12.   Ask Them to Write a Journal

write a journal

A very good way on how to help a friend who cuts is to encourage them to write a daily journal. Putting thoughts to paper can be very therapeutic. Encourage your friend to write whatever he/she is feeling, which can also help the counselor or therapist to understand what your friend is going through. If your friend is not comfortable in writing about the cutting episodes, do not push him/her to do so.

 
 
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