Best Practice

When students self-harm

Pupil wellbeing
Self-harm is a subject that remains shrouded in stigma with three in four young sufferers not knowing where to turn. Linda Aitchison looks at how schools and school staff should react when a pupil seeks help.

When Rhiannon, 14, started cutting her arms with a craft knife from a kitchen drawer, she found it a form of release after her parents divorced. For two months she continued to hurt herself, always being sure to cover her scars with her sleeve.

But in her heart she knew she couldn’t carry on causing such painful physical damage in a bid to ease emotional hurt. She approached a member of staff from a student support unit at school to confide in. And the school’s action was swift.

Rhiannon’s mum Nickie explained: “I was called in for a meeting that day. A mentor was appointed for my child and a counsellor was directed to us as a family.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here