My friend AC posted (on his blog yoacblog.com) a great summary about cutting and self-injury after attending a workshop at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference this past week. Here’s a clip of his notes, head there for the rest. Might make a solid handout/training for your volunteers:
What is Self-Injury?
It’s listed in the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association as a Borderline Personality Disorder.
Self-harm is a response to a profound and overwhelming emotional pain that cannot be resolved in a more functional way.
What Self-Injury is not!
Self-Injury is not a half-hearted attempt at suicide
A relationally immature attempt to get attention
Body modification taken to the extreme
Notes: You must understand that it is not an attempt at suicide, but if the cycle continues it could be the result at the end of a fighting battle. The self-injurer is trying to save their life not take it. We must understand that we join them in the fight for their life. While there is definitely a spiritual battle going on, self-injury does not automatically equate to Demon Possession. It’s not just about attention, it’s deeper than that and it needs our full undivided attention.
If you’re interested in a program to help students who deal with tough stuff like this, check out The Landing. Our Landing program meets every Friday night at 7pm – good stuff for hurting students.