Teen Diary: Story of a Cutter

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Some two million Americans intentionally injure themselves to cope with emotionally overwhelming feelings or situations. It’s often called self-injury, or self-mutilation, or just “cutting.” The Crisis Center in Birmingham says it’s seen an increase in the number of middle-school-aged kids calling the crisis hotline to talk about cutting. Hotline volunteer Andrea Nelson says some of them are learning about it on a how-to-cut website.

Andrea Nelson is a volunteer on the kids help line at the Crisis Center in Birmingham. It may be hard to understand just what would drive a young person to cut themselves. 15-year-old Krista started cutting several years ago. Twice she was hospitalized in a psychiatric center. Krista now lives in a foster home and has stopped cutting. But like many people with an addiction, recovery is a constant struggle. For the final episode of our series Raise Your Voice, Krista prepared this audio diary.

Editor’s note: This is our latest piece in a year-long commitment to covering mental health issues in Alabama. You can learn more about our “Making Sense of Mental Health” project and find local mental health resources — as our commitment continues throughout the year — inside this website.