Q: How much can I self-injure myself before I have a problem?

A: Although temporarily helpful, self-injurious behavior is ultimately a dangerous and futile coping-strategy, which interferes with intimacy, productivity and happiness. There is no "safe" or "healthy" amount of self-injury.[1]


Q: Why do I even have the desire to cut myself?

A: Those who engage in cutting behavior experience many different kinds of intense and weighty emotions.  By cutting, a person is striving to make themselves feel better. “Often, cutting is the only way someone knows how to deal with negative emotions like depression, rage, guilt, emptiness and self-hatred, according to TeensHealth.”  “Cutters perceive that the action provides them with positive benefits. It allows them to express their feelings and feel in control. Cutting may distract them from difficult life events, relieve guilt as it can be used as a form of self-punishment, and for some cutters, make them feel more alive.” [2]


Q: Is cutting the same thing as attempted suicide?

A: No. But it should cause us equal alarm. “Self-injury or self-harm is defined as an act with a nonfatal outcome” in which an individual deliberately harms their body or ingests something with the intention of harming themselves. “If it occurs over a period of time (days, weeks, and months), the self-injury should not necessarily be viewed as suicidal behavior; however, self-harm is linked to a risk of suicide or accidental suicide.”[3]


Q:  How can I manage thoughts of cutting?

A: “It is helpful to build new strategies for dealing with difficult feelings which can gradually take the place of self harm. In the first instance it can be useful to consider learning first aid and knowing how to take care of yourself practically if you do self harm.” De-escalate the intensity of your self harm by cutting less deeply, using a felt tip pen to write on your skin, squeeze an ice-cube tightly, or flick an elastic band on your wrist. Stay socially active; don't be alone. Identify the feelings and experiences that most trigger your urges by keeping a diary in which to express them. Try self-soothing techniques such as deep breathing, hugs and massages, stroking a pet, listening to music, or working with your hands. Finally, getting help from a professional will help you identify and manage triggers and thoughts and replace self-injurious behaviors with healthy ones.[4]


Q: Has God abandoned me because I cut myself?

A: No. Because God loves you, He promises to never leave you or forsake you. His love for you is everlasting; it will never stop, disappear, or grow cold. Nothing can separate you from His love—not even yourself. He won't ever leave you, but will provide mercy and grace when you are in need.[5]


Q: Am I the only one who feels this way?

A: 14-24% of youth and young adults have self-injured at least once. One quarter of these have done it many times. You are NOT alone.[6]


Q: Do cutters get better?

A: Yes. Although it may seem like you can’t overcome self-injury, it is important to keep in mind that people do recover. It will take some effort but in our experience, people who recover from self-injure say that it was worth it.”[7]


Q: Where can I find help?

A:  If you’re ready to get help for cutting or self-harm, the first step is to confide in another person. It can be scary to talk about the very thing you have worked so hard to hide, but it can also be a huge relief to finally let go of your secret and share what you’re going through. Ask yourself who in your life makes you feel accepted and supported. It could be a friend, teacher, religious leader, counselor, or relative. But you don’t necessarily have to choose someone you are close to. [8] You can also text “START” to 741741 or call 800-DONT CUT.


Q: I have a friend who is self-harming.  How can I help?

A: Don't demand that they stop the behavior, which is their only ability to cope with life, but offer concern and support. Don't over-react. When you understand that cutting is not usually an attempt at suicide or a way to get attention, but an outward sign of emotional distress, it can help you remain calm. Don't ignore the problem; seek professional help.  Practice patience, knowing that you can't force anyone to change.[9]



[1] Author name not available, S.A.F.E. Alternatives, January 22, 2015).

[2] Author name not available, Intervention Support, “Cutting Addiction: Why Do People Cut Themselves?“ (Accessed January 22, 2015).

[3] Cynthia Franklin and Rowena Fong, The Church Leader's Counseling Resource Book: A Guide to Mental Health and Social Problems (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), p.134.

[4] Author’s name not available, “Coping with Self-harming Urges,” Students Against Depression, (Accessed January 22, 2015.)

[5] Shana Schutte, “Answers for Cutters From the Bible,” Focus on the Family,​. (Accessed January 22, 2015).

[6] Author’s name not available, “Self Injury – A Guide for Those Who Self Injure ,” Self Injury Outreach and Support,​.(Accessed January 22, 2015).

[7] Author’s name not available, “Self Injury Outreach and Support,” (Accessed January 22, 2015).

8 Author’s name not available, “Cutting and Self Harm,” Help Guide (Accessed January 22, 2015).

[9] Shana Schutte, “Helping a Family Member or Friend Who Cuts,” Focus on the Family,​. (Accessed January 22, 2015).

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 34:17-20 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

2 Timothy 2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 18:30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Romans 8:1 There are therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 54:4 Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is with those who uphold my life.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Psalm 25:4-5 Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.

Psalm 16:8-11 I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.  Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.