Margot Waddell of the Tavistock Clinic, author of Inside Lives, a book about adolescence, says there are 'cutting schools' and 'anorexia schools', so strong is the tendency to mimic behaviour. And Sue Sherwin-White, a therapist who has studied the phenomenon, agrees: 'In some schools, it is fashionable, exciting and even rather competitive - and it has the added advantage of scaring teachers and parents.' What starts as an experiment can become a perverse gratification that is hard to give up.
Wonder whether there will be pro-self-mutilation websites in the way that there are pro-anorexia web sites (and Trent Reznor fan pages and such don't count).
'Adolescents,' says Wilson, 'do things that disturb us, by definition. There's something morbid about adolescents. Look at the imagery of the pop music they listen to. They are drawn to death. It's not surprising that the second most common cause of death in this age group is suicide.'
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