Let’s Talk about 

Self-harm  

The revised and updated Let’s Talk about Self-harm Management Toolkit provides guidance and support for individuals working with school-age children and young people under 18 in educational settings.

You can view the Toolkit online and download resources for schools from this hub, or you can contact us to request a printed copy of our Toolkit.

We also offer fully funded training workshops to give you the knowledge, skills and practical experience needed to effectively use the updated Toolkit.

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View Toolkit Here

Download template letters & supporting documents for schools

The toolkit includes:

  • How to identify self-harm
  • How to identify who is self-harming and who is at risk
  • How to identify the signs of self-harm
  • Responding to an incident/suspected incident of self-harm
  • Pathway of recommended actions
  • Assessing risk
  • Confidentiality
  • Talking to children or young people who are self-harming including conversation prompts.
  • Do’s and don’ts for talking to young people about self-harm.
  • Talking to children or young people who are self-harming.
  • How to talk to parents about their children’s self-harming behaviours and tips around how to help them manage their child’s self-harm.
  • Practical distraction and coping strategies for children and young people that are self-harming such as mindfulness, or way or releasing anger or aggression.
  • Where to get help from self-harm including signposting to services who can support with self-harm, useful apps and websites.
  • The importance of self-care for staff who are supporting young people who self-harm and resources that they may be able to use.
  • Useful templates and leaflets to share with young people and parents around self-harm.  
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The self-harm toolkit is designed to support school staff to feel confident to support children, young people and their parents to understand and manage safely and effectively self-harming behaviours.

As Dr Chrisp, director of the Centre for Guidlines at NICE, has stated ‘Self-harm is everyone’s business’. It is time to reduce the stigma and mystery around self-harm and make it so children and young people are supported in a way that feels safe and comfortable for them whilst ensuring the adults around them feel confident in their ability to help.

According to NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) ‘Prevalence statistics are unreliable because it is sometime hidden, a recent national study reported that 7.3% of girls and 3.6% of boys aged 11-16yrs had self-harmed or attempted suicide, this rises for 17-19yrs olds to 21.5% for girls and 9.7% for boys.

The rates of probable mental health disorders amongst children have been increasing in the UK over the last decade and although self-harm is not a mental health disorder it can often be the symptom of one.

Dr Paul Chrisp, director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE said ‘Self-harm is a growing problem and should be everyone’s business to tackle- not just those working in the mental health services’.

It is recognised that children and young people spend a high proportion of their time in schools and colleges and therefore the staff there may often be the first adult who becomes aware of a child or young person’s self-harming, whether that is directly from the child or young person, or a friend asking for help on their behalf.

Parents will also often seek support and advice for their children and young people who are self-harming by going to schools in the first instance, desperate for help and reassurance. Being able to support appropriately and confidently and help both the child or young person and the system around them, is key to reaching a positive outcome.

NICE has drafted a comprehensive document detailing their recommendations for school staff that include the expectation that they work collaboratively with the child or young person to provide support, that they address any immediate physical health needs or involve medical services where appropriate, are aware of how to access support and signpost appropriately.

NICE also recommended schools should ensure there are policies and procedures in place so that staff are able to:

• Identify self-harm behaviours
• Assess the needs of a student
• Know what to do if a student is self-harming
• How to support a student’s close friends and peer group