IPFW/Parkview Student Assistance Program

Helping Someone who is Hurting Themselves

Self injurious behavior, called SIB, is often referred to as “cutting,” although it may take other forms, such as provoking physical fights that you cannot win. While it is upsetting to family and friends, it is preferred over the mental and emotional anguish a person feels. In a sense, it helps them control overwhelming emotions, and maintain a sense of self rather than a loss of identity and meaning. Depending on how much they trust you, the following might be helpful:

  • Be respectful of them and their privacy. They are easily shamed and become defensive.
  • Do not accuse them, or stare at them, but share in a caring way what you have noticed.
  • You can make a difference just by being a friend and accepting them.
  • If they do not want help, don’t persist. You can suggest they see a counselor, but they have to be willing to do the work.
  • If it is getting worse, you can speak to a counselor in Student Assistance. If they suggest killing themselves, you need to take it seriously and tell someone–a teacher, RA, counselor, or family member. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
  • Never take on the responsibility of someone else’s problems and expect to change them. Be a support. Listen. Be non-judgmental. That is what your friend needs most.

Personal counseling is available on campus at the Parkview/IPFW Student Assistance Program in Walb Union, room 113. It’s free, it’s confidential, and it may be the support you need.  Call 260-266-8060 for an appointment.