A strange phenomenon
Look, I understand about depression. I go there, sometimes. I've been there for longer periods than I'd care to admit. Sometimes it's a state of humanity.
What I don't fully understand is cutting.
I run across cutters a fair bit in my job. I don't want to categorize or anything (middleclasswhitekids), but I do see some consistencies.
Cutters usually don't go very deep. Most break the skin to bleed, but don't really do any nerve and/or ligament damage. Often it's not even triple-thickness cuts. I've seen quite a few where there was a long series of parallel cuts down the arm or leg, which cuts barely bled. Occasionally you'll see deeper, but usually not.
Question: Does this really count as harming yourself? As a desire to do further, more significant harm to yourself?*
People give themselves homemade tats, and most people don't blink an eye. I know of a frat that engages in branding, and people don't much notice. Piercings, gaugings, sub-dermal inserts-- all of these are a form of self-mutilation. But say that a person is a cutter, and people freak, and sometimes even declare that the person is an active danger to himself, who must be taken into immediate medical and psychiatric care, whether or not the patient wants it.
As a libertarian, I say, let 'em go, unless someone else's life is threatened.
As a cop, I have a duty to protect them, if they're an active danger, even if only to themselves. So I try to evaluate if this person seems to be such a danger. Unfortunately, my evaluation is only given a grain of salt, so I have to call in the Ambulance Drivers, who sometimes take a different vies of things than I do.
There are more sanitary ways of self-destruction, people.
*2nd half of the question was edited later after original post.