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Ask Trevor is an online, non-time sensitive question and answer resource for young people with questions surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity. Browse the published letters or submit your own letter.

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Help?

Question:

Today I searched tumblr with #cutting and I saw many people cutting and wanting to die etc. some with family issues,some of them are feeling so lonely and ugly just because of society..I was sending messages or letters (I don’t know how they call it on tumblr) to random people saying that they are beautiful.  For some of them they are feeling better already but some of them are having serious family issues and I couldn’t help them! And now i’m so scared that some of them are going to kill themselves and I can’t do anything about that can you help me please? I don’t want them to die but I don’t know what to do!

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Firstly, thank you so much for being such a caring person and writing to those random people in the hope of making them feel better about their lives if only for a second – it all helps and we are proud of you.

Cutting is a serious issue for many young people in the world today as you have seen on Tumblr.  People cut for many different reasons and they may do it as a way of dealing with or managing difficult, painful, overwhelming emotions or stress. For others, cutting relieves stress or tension or they find that the physical pain of cutting is a distraction from the emotional pain. Some are also angry at someone in their life and decide to take the anger out on themselves by cutting. Others feel that the cutting gives them a feeling of control when things in the life or their emotions feel out of control. Still others feel numb or “dead inside” and cutting helps them to feel alive.  The people you have contacted may be experiencing some or all of these feelings.

There are websites available including www.safe-alternatives.com and www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm that can hopefully help these people as well as providing information on additional things they could do when they have the urge to cut. You may like to refer the people you contact to these sites but you could also let them know, if they want to know and it is safe for you to say so, that cutting may help them to feel better briefly but the longer it goes on, the more dangerous it can become as it can cause permanent scars, infections and serious, and sometimes life threatening medical problems especially if they cut a major blood vessel. It can also cause them to feel shame, guilt, depressed and out of control.

It can be very difficult to stop cutting and it would be important for them to tell a trusted adult about the cutting in order for them to find a therapist to work with to find safer and healthier ways to deal with the hard things they are going through.

Whilst you have already shown how caring you are we would caution that you do not become too involved in contacting people online that you do not know. Whilst you want to be a caring individual in society you also need to protect your self from harm whether emotional or otherwise.

If the person is LGBTQ then you could also suggest they visit TrevorSpace at www.trevorspace.org. It’s the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. It’s a great supportive community where they could connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that they are having about family and their lives.

Trevor Staff