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27 June 2012

Self-mutilation increase in SA teens

Self-mutilation among teenagers has drastically increased in the past year, and is the fastest growing problem among adolescents, according to a Johannesburg psychologist.

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Self-mutilation among teenagers has drastically increased in the past year, and is the fastest growing problem among adolescents, according to a Johannesburg psychologist.

Joy Nel told delegates at a national conference on child abuse in Pretoria that 85% of her clients mutilated themselves after experiencing trauma, Beeld reported.

Another reason for self-mutilation was adolescents joining so-called "emo-cults", which should be taken seriously by parents, and not simply regarded as more than just a passing phase, she said.

Why teens cut themselves

"Adolescents who cut themselves feel numb, so they hurt themselves to feel alive, and countless sex crimes and other forms of abuse go hand-in-hand with these cults," Nel said.

The "emo" group members, who usually complained of having experienced life-long disappointment in other people, cut each other during group sessions, which were frequently photographed.

Most adolescents who self-mutilated resented the term, and get upset when people used it, preferring to call it bleeding, bloodletting or dripping, said Nel.

They also could not understand why their parents made a fuss about it, because, they were "hurting only themselves, and not other people," she said. - (Sapa, June 2012)

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