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Cutting and Self-Injurious Behaviors

Definition of Self-Injury: Self-Injury is intentional, non-life threatening, self-effected bodily harm or disfigurement of a socially unacceptable nature, performed to reduce psychological distress." (Barent Walsh, 2006)

“(Self-injurious behaviors) is one of the least understood behaviors of adolescence and appears to be increasing at a staggering rate. Today, for every 100,000 adolescents, it is estimated that between 750 and 1,800 will exhibit self-injurious behaviors (SIB) (Suyemoto & Kountz, 2000). This translates to 150,000 to 360,000 students nationwide, more than 70% of whom are female. "

"...The most common and concerning to middle and high school educators is Repetitive Self-Mutilation Syndrome (RSM). Forms of RSM include cutting, scratching, burning, head banging, preventing wounds from healing, picking, poking, and hair pulling. Of these, cutting is by far the most common behavior.

RSM behaviors differ from many culturally sanctioned behaviors-such as ritual tattooing and piercing-that typically are intended as ornamentation or for established cultural, spiritual, or social purposes."

-Richard Lieberman


American Self Harm Information Clearinghouse

Self Injury and Related Issues (Siari)

S.A.F.E. Alternatives


Focus Adolescent Services

National Mental Health Association (fact sheet)

Secret Shame/Self-Injury Information and Support

Hair Pulling/Trichotillomania