Monday, February 06, 2006

Fresh Blades for Self-Mutilators?

(Excerpted from WorldNetDaily)
A professional nurses group is proposing that "self-harming" patients who are intent on mutilating themselves be given clean blades, bandages and "how-to" advice so they can cut themselves more safely.

Current practice mirrors what most people expect of the medical profession – stopping anyone from harming himself and removing any sharp objects that could be used to cut the skin.

According to the National Mental Health Association, self-harm – also termed self-mutilation, self-injury or self-abuse – is defined as the "deliberate, repetitive, impulsive, non-lethal harming of one's self. It includes: 1) cutting, 2) scratching, 3) picking scabs or interfering with wound healing, 4) burning, 5) punching self or objects, 6) infecting oneself, 7) inserting objects in body openings, 8) bruising or breaking bones, 9) some forms of hair-pulling, as well as other various forms of bodily harm. These behaviors, which pose serious risks, may by symptoms of a mental health problem that can be treated."

#7 could theoretically include eating a hamburger. Other than that, the list seems pretty self-evident.

[…] RCN's Jeremy Bore supports the proposal. "We should give patients clean blades and a clean environment to self-harm and then access to good-quality dressings," he said
"My instinct is that it is better to sit with the patient and talk to them while they are self-harming. We should definitely give advice on safer parts of the body to cut. It could get to the stage where we could have a discussion with the patient about how deep the cuts were going to be and how many."

I have a feeling the therapists are far sicker than the practitioners themselves.
Ian Hulatt, mental health adviser for the RCN, sees a parallel to the similar proposal to give hypodermic needles to drug users to prevent the spread of AIDS through shared needles.

"There is a clear comparison with giving clean needles to reduce HIV," he said. "We will be debating introducing a similar harm-reduction approach. This may well include the provision of clean dressing packs and it may mean providing clean 'sharps'. "Nurses who encounter individuals who self-harm on a regular basis face a dilemma. Do they go for prohibition? Or do we allow this to occur in a way that minimizes harm?"

And here, I think, they do have a point. This sort of insanity is indeed a perfectly logical extension of the mindset that provides schoolkids with condoms, unwed mothers with free abortions, and junkies with needles. The underlying belief seems to be that the most important thing you can do for a person is to protect him from consequences. No behavior is problematic in and of itself, only the possibility that it might lead to unfortunate results. Eliminate the consequence, and the behavior becomes just one more choice.

[…] The UK's Patient Association has come out against the proposal. "Supplying individuals who self-harm with blades cannot be good for them," said the group's director of communications. "Nurses should not be supporting patients to self-harm. By giving self-harmers the tools they need, the nurses could be seen as encouraging individuals to harm themselves. We should be doing something to discourage this behavior."

Clearly the patients have a clearer view of reality that those who treat them do. The patients get to see life as it is; one suspects it is more a matter of theory for those whose job is to treat them.

The pretense is that people become freer to express themselves or to live their chosen lifestyles. The reality is that we are given evermore ways to enslave ourselves. Safe cutting, like safe sex and safe drugs, is illusory. Miserable addicts frequently get better; contented addicts die. This sort of facilitation only cushions the chains of bondage to the world, the flesh, and the devil. A comfortable slave is less likely to revolt than a mistreated one, and Satan knows it’s easier to get people to walk into hell with smiles on their faces than to try and force them through the gates.

Other than that, I guess I have no strong opinion on the matter…