HELP NEEDED: Cutters and suicidal youth are leaving comments on my blog

Last December I posted the below video, which is about cyberbullying.

Some young people who say they are ‘cutters’ and/or are having suicidal thoughts are leaving comments on the blog post. Of course they don’t leave any contact information, so I don’t have any good ways to reach out to them.

I don’t feel like I should just ignore these comments, but I confess that I’m way out of my league here. Any suggestions you have – or helpful resources for these individuals – would be most welcome. Post wherever you think appropriate (here or where their comments are). Thanks.

16 Responses to “HELP NEEDED: Cutters and suicidal youth are leaving comments on my blog”

  1. If you were in Australia I’d say contact Lifeline or kids help line (24hour phone counselling) as they would have lots of resources. Maybe where you are there is a number you could post that they could call if they wanted to talk to someone?

  2. It’s tough when there’s no contact info (I have a similar situation). You’ve left your contact info, which is good. Perhaps you can add a suicide/crisis line to the post and in the comments?

    I added http://suicidehotlines.com/colorado.html this to mine since I’m in Colorado, but you perhaps could add http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

  3. I’m with Karl on this one. I would post as much information as possible (maybe in a sidebar) about ways to get help. I would also write another blog post expressing your concern and explaning that while you are concerned it may be better to speak with someone with the professional expertise to assist them. Unfortunately, depending on where you are from you may be in a position that makes you a mandated reporter (particularly since there are some allegations of verbal abuse from the parents). In which case, if you do discover who these individuals are, you would need to report the information to the authorities. That would probably put you in an even more precarious situation. Best of luck!

  4. I think that a lot of these youth who are contemplating suicide should check out the “It Gets Better” project which has a really simple but powerful message.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/It-Gets-Better-Project/158071744210603

    I was a bullied youth in my teen days and I thought about suicide a few times. I didn’t know how to do it and thought my family would be horribly wounded, so I didn’t go through with it. I’m so glad I stuck with it a bit longer because now I really love my life. I love every moment of my life and am so grateful that teenager who was me decided against a rash decision.

  5. To Write Love On Her Arms is a fantastic organization that has some good resources on their website under the ‘Find Help’ tab.
    http://www.twloha.com/

  6. 1) Edit the post to have an ostentatious link to http://www.athinline.org/take-control (the resource that the creators of the video provide) right at the top

    2) Mention the same resource as the last comment to the post, and implore people seeking help to use one of those resources

    3) Close up comments to the post. It does no one a favor to leave it open and become a place for children having this kind of trouble.

    This is a testament to the power and randomness of ubiquitous instantaneous publishing. Why your post and not the site that produced it? It doesn’t matter

  7. I found the USA National Suicide and Crisis Hotline homepage: http://suicidehotlines.com/national.html

  8. I don’t have any helpful resources to add to the ones already provided by your other commenters, but I will say that it’s great that you’re writing about this and asking for help. These individuals are obviously reaching out and you’re helping them by taking their comments seriously.

  9. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is the national suicide prevention hotline available 24/7 to anyone in the US in crisis: 1-800-273-8255. Please refer anyone expressing thoughts of suicide or that is feeling alone or overwhelmed to this number. There are trained professionals that can help. Also, you can learn more about what you can do here: http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/WhatIfSomeoneIKnowNeedsHelp.aspx

  10. I second the recommendation for “It Gets Better.” Here’s the link for the site, where all the videos are embedded:
    http://www.itgetsbetterproject.com./

    Take the pledge!

  11. great resources guys.

    Scott – like mentioned above – thank you for addressing this.

    another great resource – Melody Moezzi. she’s on twitter @melodymoezzi. an article she wrote for CNNliving:
    http://tinyurl.com/29qk2e5

  12. Yes, these are great resources and thanks for addressing this on your blog.

    Bill

  13. This is an area that I study. I was forwarded this blog from a colleague who knows that I study self-injury. I think what some indicated is helpful – e.g., providing referrals and websites and crisis hotlines. While I can’t see what the original posts had been re self-injury, I think it is important to distinguish between self-harm (e.g., suicide attempts, and other harmful at risk behaviors) and non-suicidal self-injury. Mos that engage in non-suicidal self-injury (e.g., cutting, burning skin, carving into skin, etc.) are not engaging in suicidal behaviors and most do not want to commit suicide. Actually most will engage in NSSI in order to cope with stressors. It doesn’t mean that it is an adaptive coping mechanism, and it doesn’t mean that these individuals do not need help, but it is important to separate the two behaviors.

    As mentioned by others, you can not do much when there is no contact information, but you can provide resources for them. A resource that is more specific to self-injury rather than suicide is http://www.selfinjury.com/ which is an organizaion nationally recognized for treating self-injury and has an online blog/chat space for individuals who self-injure. There are other websites that do provide chat and blog opportunities, but not all of them are treatment specific. I hope this helps!

  14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax96cghOnY4

    At the end of this video, there are resources including websites and phone numbers.

  15. One of my students in Maine’s prison for teens created this radio documentary, “Joey Interviews a Cutter,” which won a national award.

    Perhaps this will help some of your adult or student readers gain some insight into the problem.
    http://bit.ly/9fzLwg

    It’s worth noting that we had many students in the Constructionist Learning Laboratory at the Maine Youth Center who were cutters, but never a single incident in our classroom in 3+ years. Sometimes we didn’t even know a kid was a cutter until a classmate told us and reassured us that they were looking out for their peer.

    Not only didn’t we have a single incident of cutting (they did that when they went back to their housing units), but we didn’t experience a single discipline problem requiring a kid to leave the classroom IN THREE YEARS. This was in a facility that averaged an emergency per day.

    We had a multiage computer-rich learning environment staffed by adults who cared for the kids and would support them in the construction of personally meaningful projects five hours per day. We were able to achieve such intellectual, creative and emotional success because the Governor and state legislature freed us of all curriculum and assessment requirements.

    As a result, we were able to build upon, respect and nurture the curiosity, talent, experience, passion and expertise of each individual student (all without textbooks, tests, quizzes, whiteboards or computer assisted instruction).

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