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Studies indicate that roughly 13 percent to 25 percent of high school students have intentionally harmed themselves, with the behavior becoming chronic in an estimated6 percent. Often, a self-injurer will try to hide the wounds. Here are a few things to look for:
- Unexplained or clustered scars or marks
- Fresh cuts, bruises, burns, or other signs of bodily damage
- Bandages worn frequently
- Inappropriate dress for the season, such as long shirts or long pants worn consistently during summer
- Unwillingness to participate in events that require less body coverage (such asswimming)
- Constant use of wrist bands
- Odd or unexplainable paraphernalia such as razor blades or other cutting implements
- Physical or emotional absence, preoccupation, distance
- Social withdrawal, sensitivity to rejection, difficulty handling anger, compulsiveness
- Expressions of self-loathing, shame, and/or worthlessness
SOURCE: “The Cutting Edge: Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Adolescence,” by Janis Whitlock, Cornell Research Program on Self-Injurious Behavior in Adolescents and Young Adults.