Rushville Republican

Health

November 21, 2012

LCC members hear of self mutilation problem

RUSHVILLE — Members of the Local Coordinating Council, meet monthly and are charged with making and keeping Rush County schools a safe and drug free environment. Funding for the LCC is generated by drug and alcohol countermeasure fees collected by the Rush County courts. Each of the groups or organizations that receive funding from the LCC are invited to speak at a meeting.

Cindy Harcourt of Harcourt Counseling spoke of a growing problem that she and other counselors have encountered locally in recent years, the addiction of self mutilation.

Harcourt has been a clinical social worker for more than a quarter of a century and has seen and dealt with many addictions and other behavioral problems during her 26 years in the industry.

According to Harcourt, females are more likely than men to turn to self mutilation as a means of coping with pressures and problems. The mutilation can include but is not limited to cutting or burning ones skin, banging one’s head, sticking objects in to their skin and intentionally preventing wounds from healing.

She said there are various reasons that individuals cite for turning to the unhealthy coping mechanism but no single clear cut reason. Harcourt said that seeking attention is the least noted reason for the behavior and that many individuals hide the scars and injuries by wearing long sleeve shirts. Counselors have found that over-all, most individuals that self mutilate are actually not suicidal and that the individuals are simply trying to feel better by causing external pain to counteract internal pain and anguish.

She cited teaching healthy coping measures and continued follow up on behavior modification has been found to be successful in treating self-mutilation.

In other unrelated matters, Sarah Hall of Communities That Care told LCC members that it is her hope that testing Rush County students on the prevalence on drug and alcohol use could be conducted on an annual basis. Currently testing is conducted on a three year cycle and according to LCC Coordinator and RCHS assistant principal Rob Hadley, the cost and the timing of the testing is the reason for the two-year gap between testing periods.

Frank Denzler can be contacted at (765) 932-2222 ext. 106.

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