A Bright Red Scream

Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain

Self-mutilation is a behavior so shocking that it is almost never discussed. Yet estimates are that upwards of eight million Americans are chronic self-injurers. They are people who use knives, razor blades, or broken glass to cut themselves. Their numbers include the actor Johnny Depp, Girl Interrupted author Susanna Kaysen, and the late Princess Diana.

Mistakenly viewed as suicide attempts or senseless masochism--even by many health professionals--"cutting" is actually a complex means of coping with emotional pain. Marilee Strong explores this hidden epidemic through case studies, startling new research from psychologists, trauma experts, and neuroscientists, and the heartbreaking insights of cutters themselves--who range from troubled teenagers to middle-age professionals to grandparents.

Strong explains what factors lead to self-mutilation, why cutting helps people manage overwhelming fear and anxiety, and how cutters can heal both their internal and external wounds and break the self-destructive cycle. A Bright Red Scream is a groundbreaking, essential resource for victims of self-mutilation, their families, teachers, doctors, and therapists.


Author: Marilee Strong
Publisher: Penguin Books, 1998
Format: Book, paperback, 215 pages
Can You See My Pain?

Can You See My Pain? powerfully explores the topic of self-injury. Nearly 3 million people in the United States are currently estimated to self-injure. As a disorder that is just beginning to come to light, it engenders confusion and mixed responses, even among professionals, as people struggle to identify the causes and treatment strategies for self-injury.

Personal accounts of women, ages 14 to 57, and statements by professionals, Karen Conterio and Dr. Wendy Lader, authors of the book Bodily Harm: The Breakthrough Program for Self-Injurers, provide a comprehensive look at this problem. Can You See My Pain? presents treatment strategies and messages of hope for those who self-injure.


Produced by: Newist/CSEA 7
Format: Video, 24 minutes, Closed Captioned; Guide, 67 pages
Real Life Teens: Self Destruction

This program discusses Teen Self Destruction and its different manifestations. Self inflicted physical injury such as "cutting" is the most common aspect of Self Destruction. Teens may experience painful feelings of their own towards harming themselves or may be exposed to a teen or friend who needs real help. Helping someone who is prone to self destruction is not easy and Teens discuss ways to help. In this program we'll discuss possible causes and solutions to self destruction in adolescents.

Hear from Real Teens as they discuss different aspects of Self Destructive behavior.   

Subjects covered include:  
  • What is self destruction?
  • What kinds of problems can lead to self-destruction?
  • How to express negative feelings in a positive manner.
  • Alternatives to self destruction.
  • Positive ways of expression.
  • How to know if you or a friend needs help.
  • Where to turn to for help.

Produced by: TMW Media Group, 2007
Format: DVD, 18 munutes

Skin Deep: Understanding Self-Injury

Each year nearly two million people injure their own bodies using knives, scissors, glass, cigarettes, candles, razors—in fact, practically any destructive item they can find. Through interviews with patients and mental health professionals and footage of actual therapy sessions, this compelling program seeks to understand a deeply disturbing and often secretive mental disorder that affects as many teens and young adults as anorexia.


Producer: A Cambridge Educational Production, 2000
Format: DVD, 21 minutes
 
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