Self injury has gradually become a common behaviour amongst teenagers and youths which normally occurs during secondary school as well as college institutions. With this fact, schools require more self harm awareness to detect, intervene, and prevent self harm, as much as possible, in teenagers from occurring and recurring.
How to begin?
The responsibility for self injury support and self harm counselling must begin within the school team. If the school does not have a core team, the primary action will be to assemble a team of professionals to address the issues related to the detection and management of self harming teenagers. It is also important to organize training for teachers in terms of “help for self harm”
What they do?
The team will be responsible for the following:
- Responding to any self injury discoveries and confessions. They will serve as resource for teachers who might suspect, but not sure of, someone who is self harming.
- Communicating with the individual and referring the student to a Nurse, Counsellor or Child Protection Officer for care and
evaluation of the nature of the self harm or wounds.
- Making sure that the student is not suicidal after identifying the symptoms indicated.
- Act as liaison between the parents or guardians, the student, the peers (if and where relevant) and referral people associated with the individual after such disclosures.
- Establish supportive roles and relationships with teenagers who self harm. If not, find someone capable of this role.
For the team or teacher to function effectively and efficiently, it is important to undertake training programmes for teachers or refer suspected yet unconfirmed cases to the key person responsible for taking the lead role in such matters.
Focus of the training of teachers
The very crucial part of this training for teachers is gaining knowledge and understanding of how to determine the symptoms and signs of self harm behaviours. Moreover, it is very important that resource materials for teachers are given during the training for professionals for them to be able to recognize what is the difference between suicidal attempts and self harm in teenagers; as well as being aware of conditions which needs immediate attention like having severe wounds requiring stitches or medical care. This is very important in giving self harm help for people.
Part of this awareness raising might include self harm awareness about things that are not classified as self injurious such as tattoos, piercings, and other bodily modifications. Individuals who have extreme and numerous body modifications may also be potentially self harming.