Is cutting illegal?


Is cutting illegal?


your avatar   Laura (18 year-old woman)

I've been cutting myself for a while and have thought about suicide quite a number of times. I live in Washington D.C. and I just wanted to know if it was illegal to do these things.

Is cutting yourself illegal?


    Michael Mesmer, MFT


Cutting is not illegal if the damage inflicted is minor. However, cutting could be taken by someone else as an indication that a person was a danger to him or herself. In that situation, you might not be arrested but could be held in a psychiatric facility for observation or treatment, a consequence sometimes even less desirable than jail.

My question for you Laura, is why are you still alive? What quality in you has enabled you to keep going even though you sometimes feel so bad that only cutting can relieve the stress or emotional pain? Thoughts of suicide are understandable at times of stress and pain - what or who has helped you to hang in there?

There are many resources on the web for you to consult. Try this site, among other good ones:

Michael Mesmer, MFT

This question was answered by Michael Mesmer, MFT. Michael is familiar with several therapeutic approaches, including brief, holistic, transpersonal, narrative, and body-oriented therapies. He works with issues of domestic violence, grief and loss, relationship and phase-of-life challenges, teenage concerns and parenting skills. For more information visit his site or his compact information page on QueenDom. For more information visit:

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