CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - About three million people in America engage in self harm. Two million have been reported to cut or burn themselves.
Experts say they are seeing more and more young people engage in this type of destructive behavior.
Aimee Lafave started cutting when she was in the 5th grade.
"I can't tell for sure if it was on purpose," Lafave said. "Or an accident back then, but I remember feeling the good part of it."
Lafave said she started cutting because she was bullied as a child. She told her parents about the abuse but they told her not to tattle tell.
"I held the pain in for a long time." Lafave said.
She continued cutting into her adult life. Lafave says she wants to get help but can't go 90 days without harming herself.
"The part that people don't understand is," Lafave said. "The release of that inner pain, not feeling good enough, not being accepted."
This is an addiction many have a hard time breaking.
Therapists at Monarch Mental Health and Human Services in East Charlotte say they have seen people as young as 7-years-old get treated for harming themselves. They are now helping Lafave with her addiction.
"I cut my arms," Lafave said. "Cut my legs. I cut on my ribs. I cut. I don't have any particular place."
Therapists teach cutters to use relaxation and meditation to help them stop harming themselves.
One out of six females harm themselves while one out of seven males harm themselves.
Lafave attends therapy sessions twice a week at Monarch. She says she is getting better.
She has learned alternative ways to deal with her situation besides cutting. She now wears rubber bands on her wrists. When she gets the urge to harm herself she pulls the rubber band instead and lets it smack her skin. She also has resorted to getting tattoos.
Therapists say people who have a hard time coping with stress and certain challenges are most likely to harm themselves. They encourage parents to know the warning signs and talk to their children about dealing with challenges.
May is Mental Health Month. Below are some resources to help you.
You can reach out to Monarch, Mental Health and Human Services. Their number (866) 272-7826. M-F 8AM-5PM
There is a special self-harm page to the Monarch web site www.MonarchNC.org/understanding-self-harm Or just go to www.MonarchNC.org .
If you or a family member are experiencing a mental health crisis, contact our 24-hour, toll free line at 1-800-939-5911 where Cardinal Innovations will connect you to appropriate services.