Self-harm occurs in relation to a wide range of personal problems, emotional turmoil and psychiatric disorders, and is a serious concern. The government does not collect central data on cases of self-harm by school-age children, but the Department of Health is currently commissioning a new national prevalence survey for children and young people’s mental health which is due to report its findings in 2018.
Schools should take prompt action to deal with cases of self- harm. The Department has taken a range of actions to help them to build a whole-school approach to good mental wellbeing, which includes being informed about self-harm. We funded guidance and age-appropriate lesson plans on teaching mental health in PSHE – which covers teaching about self-harm. Training for teachers on self-harm is available through MindEd, a free online portal which has been developed to enable all adults working with children and young people learn more about specific mental health problems and how to support them. We have also revised and updated our blueprint for effective school-based counselling.
However, teachers are not mental health specialists and can need specialist support in deciding how to respond. We have contributed to a £3m joint pilot between schools and specialist mental health services, to help schools draw on specialist support for their pupils; where needed.