Tina Rae’s article Introducing the topic of self-harm in schools: developing an educational and preventative support intervention was recently featured in SHEU’s latest Education and Health journal. Below is a brief summary, and links to the full article and journal can be found underneath.
For background, the report states that professionals agree that interventions should:
- be implemented at an early stage/age
- be targeted primarily at boys
- include and actively involve parents, carers, education, health and the judicial system
- be concerned with both skills and knowledge, e.g. self-esteem, self-confidence, emotional literacy and relationship building
- be focused on health, decision making and risk-taking behaviours.
The report notes the importance of a dedicated policy (“which includes mental, social and emotional health” and actively addresses issues such as bullying), a supportive environment, and a whole school approach.
Rae lists primary and secondary risk factors for suicide, and recognises that certain groups are at higher risk of suicide than the general population “including young people in custody, looked-after children, gay/lesbian or bisexual children and those who inhabit more isolated rural communities”
The report explores the definition of and evidence about self-harm before introducing a resource by Rae and Walshe (details of which can be found in the list of references at the end of the report).
The resource is described as follows:
“The first part of this resource is a training session designed to educate and raise awareness amongst professionals working with young people”
The second part is an “8-session programme which can be delivered to groups of young people in a school or youth education context”
- “What is self-harm? – Myths and realities and tackling the stigma
- Understanding stress and anxiety
- Triggers and traumas – the impact of social media and the internet
- Stopping the cycle of self-harm – key tools and strategies
- Supporting friends who self-harm – key issues and sources of support
- Key tools from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to practice and use
- Using tools from positive psychology to create a more positive mind-set
- Breaking the cycle and moving forwards”
The purpose of these sessions is to “provide a safe framework in which students can develop preventative strategies and techniques alongside recognising the importance of peer support and appropriate access to therapeutic agencies.”
Rae also recognises the increased incidence of self-harm in children of primary school age, and therefore the need “to consider how to create preventative approaches and interventions which are both effective and age appropriate.”
Read the full article here