In 2002 the British Medical Journal surveyed 6,000 15 and 16 year olds and found that 7% said they had self-harmed during the previous year. In a World Health Organisation study to be published later this month, 20% of 15-year olds told researchers that they had self-harmed during the previous 12 months. This three-fold increase in self-harming over twelve years certainly fits in with the anecdotal comments I have been hearing from teachers around the country. (Source: Shock figures show extent of self-harm in English teenagers – Guardian)
Amongst the best self-harm resources I have come across is from the Shropshire Local Safeguarding Children Board. In addition to the training information, the Shropshire Self-harm Pathways includes a risk assessment and a structured ‘early help’ discussion record.
With the increase in the number of teenagers self-harming combined with the general reduction in CAMHS, it is important that school staff have a greater awareness of self-harming and are able to identify the more serious cases for onward referral.
Questions to think about
- Does your school have a protocol for self-harm?
- Do you have a list of helplines that might be able to support students and their parents/carers?
- What records do you keep about pupils who self-harm?
- How would you know if a pupil’s self-harming behaviour is improving or worsening?
Web Page: Shropshire Self-harm Pathways