More Permian Basin Teens Cutting Themselves

More Permian Basin Teens Cutting Themselves

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - There's a growing trend among Basin teenagers and it has local doctors concerned. More teens are cutting themselves but they aren't necessarily suicidal.

It's called non-suicidal self harm.

"Kids actually don't have intentions of killing themselves but they do deliberately cause self harm and injury, be it with cutting or tattoos but mainly cutting," Dr. Bobby Jain, a child psychiatrist with Texas Tech Physicians in Midland, said.

Dr. Jain said more Permian Basin teens are doing it. Surprisingly, he said this behavior is different because these teens aren't trying to end their lives.

"Somehow that physical pain helps them numb down the emotional pain," Jain said.

But even more shocking, we're told some patients they've seen are cutting themselves as a way to fit in.

"For example the more you cut yourself, the more you show scars to your buddies, the more peers, you get better acceptance, or so-called," Jain said.

Doctors said this trend could be caused by factors at home and school.

"A lot of families are moving in so a lot of teenagers moving in and many of them feel uprooted and disconnected from their original environment," Jain said.

"A kid that's got problems at home and then they go to school and get bullied or mistreated by peers, that's just the perfect set up for self-harm," Dr. Melanie Sheets, an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, said.

Dr. Sheets is working with teens and giving them the therapy they need to get through their tough times.

Even though it may not begin as a suicidal idea, doctors said it's important to catch the signs early on.

"It helps to work with these folks before things get so severe and out of control that they have to go to the state hospital system," Sheets said.