Dear Annie: My cousin, “Daphne,” wears a lot of black. She seems perfectly happy with her life, but she is cutting herself. She showed me the marks on her arms and legs.
Daphne said I absolutely cannot tell anybody. But I’m worried about her health. Should I tell her parents and get in trouble with her? She’s my favorite cousin, and I don’t want to end up on her bad side. What should I do?
Dear Helpless: Cutting is not only physically damaging, but is an indication of emotional distress. It’s good that Daphne is confiding in you, and we hope you will allow her to discuss the things that are bothering her. Urge her to talk to the school counselor or a favorite teacher. Both of you can also check out kidshealth.org, which has information on cutting. If Daphne refuses to seek help through the school and won’t stop cutting, tell your parents what is going on. Although she may be upset with you, please care enough to help her anyway.