Help, My Friend Is Cutting

I have written many blogs on the subject of cutting.  We've discussed what it is, why people do it, the consequences, and some possible solutions to the problem.  But, today, I want to talk specifically to the friends of cutters.

Help, my friend is cutting.

This can be a hard subject to talk about and it can be a very sensitive subject to the cutter, so it is important to keep the following things in mind when trying to help.

Someone recently wrote to me and asked: My friend is cutting. How can I get it into my best friend's head that cutting is not good at all?

She's right cutting is not good at all, and I appreciate her desire to help her friend.  However, there isn't a simple answer to this question.  We can't just throw out facts and figures and think a cutter is going to be instantly convinced to stop.  As I wrote about in Why People Cut, cutters are usually covering up a deeper emotional pain.

Therefore, when talking to a friend about cutting here are some very important things to remember.

  • Do NOT come across as judgmental.  You may not be aware of the personal struggle they are facing which has led to self-harm.
  • REALLY listen and seek to understand. Often someone who cuts feels like no one understands them. Do NOT be one more person that says why would you do this to yourself? It doesn't make any sense. Rather, ask some probing questions with a genuine desire to understand.  Such as: Why do you think you cut yourself?  Do you cut to cover up other pain? How do you feel after you cut? How do you feel the next day? Help them to tell their story...if they're ready. You don't need to have all the answers. Just listen!
  • Encourage your friend that you BELIEVE in them.  Tell them you know they will have the strength to stop when they decide to and that you will support them however you can. Offer to be their accountability partner, if they want.  You can be the person they call to distract themselves from cutting when the temptation arises.
  • Refer them to other resources on the subject of self-harm and read more about it yourself. We have created a link with many helpful resources available all in one convenient place. You could simply text or email your friend this link and say..."When you are ready..." or share it through social media. You never know when sharing information could impact a life. TheHopeLine Resource Page
  • Most importantly PRAY for them. God is bigger than cutting!!  He can help them overcome the addiction. Pray that God gives them the strength and desire they need to stop cutting and find HOPE.

If you want to know more about breaking free from self-harm. Read this blog that our friend, Amanda Turner, wrote about her personal story. 

Thanks for caring. You CAN make a difference in someone's life.

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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41 comments on “Help, My Friend Is Cutting”

  1. Hello! So my online best friend has been cutting herself everyday. She just told me I really don’t know what to do. I want to help her but I don’t know how cuz we’re online friends. I told her brother who lives really close to her and he said he knew and is still trying help her. But he hasn’t told anybody else. Please help me.

    1. Rosy, Thank you for reaching out to help your friend. We're glad you told someone that is close to her. We have a partner organization that specializes in self-harm. They have recovery coaches that will guide you on what to do to help your friend. Go to to find out how to reach them by text or email. We also have hope coaches available that can help you with this. Go to to chat online with one.

  2. My friend has been cutting himself with a knife the worst thing is that we're online friends . I want to help but I don’t know what to do. Pls help i rlly wanna help him

  3. My friend who i trusted so much and told her about my cutting, did not support me, told me to stop a couple of times and didint mention anything at all. Now, sje says " I will tell your parents the next time I see them, I hope you know this." I feel extremely betrayed and upset at her considering she never showed me any kind of support to help while others at least tried. What should I do.

  4. My friend has been cutting himself with a knife and last year he tried to commit suicide. I want to help but I don't know what to do. Somebody wants to help me. So pls help!!!

  5. I have a friend named gia shes been cutting she has family problems and recent deaths in her family we was cutting in school and me and some friends noticed and tried to stop her I ended up having a deep conversation about it and I made her cry bcuz I can relate with the family issues and the school counselor's have talked to her but they re no use I really want the best for her bcuz she was crying and telling me everything she only tells this stuff to the people that are not gonna care but I told we I care alot about her when she was crying she kept telling me I've been doing this since I was 4 when is this pain going to end I feel so bad bcuz shes my friend and shes tried to commit suicide and honestly idk what to do I told her I'll always be there for her but I feel like it's not enough her parents dont really care I guess . Shes been through some really rough times and so have I so I can relate but I just want her to get close to God and ig kre her parents bcuz there is always sunlight after a storm always she wants it to end but she says its addicting idk what to do besides give her shoulder and my everything but if I tell someone close like the school that her parents are threatening her that 8f she tells someone about their problems that they are sending her to a mental hospital but they are wrong and idk what else to do

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