08 Feb Social contagion – they cut, should I?
Part of the reason YSS exists is to help teens better cope with life’s stressors! YSS provides teens with effective coping mechanisms (ways to deal with life’s challenges and opportunities), not self destructive ones. However, sometimes when people see someone they know cutting, they consider doing it themselves. They may think: Well, if it works for them, maybe it will for me. There’s a growing mentality of: It seems to make the other person feel better so maybe I should do it too.
Indeed, the number of people who cut has increased in the past few years for this reason, and also because:
1. Some celebrities have opened up about their cutting. In part this is good: people need to know about this behavior and not feel ashamed to get help. But in part, this has a negative effect: teens often look up to celebrities and so they copy them.
2. People join online groups of cutters and then find it difficult to stop when they feel accepted by this new support group. People who cut often do so because they feel isolated, lonely and different. Finding people like them, helps to comfort them. When you feel part of the crowd, and finally feel accepted for who you are, quitting is much more difficult. After all, you are supported by a new group of people who all have problems, much like yours. It feels good to be part of a group who all share a common feeling.
If you don’t cut, please don’t start! Cutting has a direct effect on the brain and your brain is still developing. During this process your brain is extremely influenced by the choices you are making. Those choices are laying down brain connections that become very strong and solid for long-term use. They can be changed now, quite easily, or you can change them later, but that’s more difficult.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the long-term consequences and how a person who cuts can begin to make changes…
Do you think celebrities talking about cutting adds to the problem or makes it better?