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education.com asks:
Q:

Any direction or recommendations for helping my niece who is cutting?

"It has just come to my attention that my niece is cutting.  My sister is really distressed and is not sure how to go about this. Please, if you can give me any direction or any recommendations on doctors who can help, i would truly appreciate it. She is in the Jericho, NY area. Thank you in advance for any help or advise you can offer."

Asked by Lisa, after reading the article, "Ask the Child Psychologist: Cutting and Self-Injury":
http://www.education.com/magazine/column/entry/...
In Topics: Cutting
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jul 29, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Finding out that your niece is cutting must be very scary for both you and your sister. It's great that this issue has come to the attention of adults in her life now so she can get the help she needs. Teens often use cutting as a way of dealing with emotional pain or uneasiness. She will certainly continue to experience things in her life that are difficult, so learning alternatives to using cutting as a way of coping with those things is critical as she moves from being a teenager into adulthood.

Your sister is right in thinking that the first step to getting her daughter help is to take her to her pediatrician to make sure there is nothing going on physically. The next step is to take her daughter to a counselor. They will be able to help her deal with her feelings in a healthy and safe way.

You mentioned that she is located in the Jerico NY area. Unfortunately we weren't able to find anything in Jerico NY. Since we are not located in NY we don't know what's near Jerico. However, we do have a national database for referrals so if you give us more information on her location such as another city or county, we will certainly be able to find some referrals for counseling for your niece. Please give us a call at our free parenting crisis hotline at 1-800-448-3000. We're here 24/7 to speak to you. You may also email us at hotline@boystown.org.

It's great that you are being supportive of your niece and sister. The most important thing you can do is offer a listening ear to each of them if they need to talk. Please feel free to pass our number on to your sister and niece if they need any additional help!

Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (2)

CreativeRachna
CreativeRac... , Child Professional, Teacher writes:
I'm so sorry to hear about your niece cutting.  It can be a very destructive and addictive habit for teens.  The good new is that it can be stopped if the behavior is noticed quickly and decisive action is taken appropriately.  Education.com has a few reference articles which may help you understand the symptoms.  But, as always referring her to a psychologist would be the best step.
http://www.education.com/topic/teen-cutting/
I hope this helps with some additional information.

Best,
Rachna
> 60 days ago

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Dr. Hillary
Dr. Hillary writes:
Self-injury in teens, like cutting, is a sign of psychological distress and a cry for help.  Your niece should be evaluated by a psychiatrist as soon as possible.  Usually, seeing a mental health professional does not require a referral from the primary care provider.  However, her mom may consult with her pediatrician for recommendation on a psychiatrist experienced in working with distressed teens.
> 60 days ago

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