An exploration of the support schools can provide to students with non-suicidal self-injury behaviour.

Assignment type: Essay
Author: Lloyd Chilcott
Submitted: March 2020

Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a behaviour enacted by a significant proportion of children and young people in the UK. Many individuals turn to the behaviour as a coping mechanism and, unfortunately, many schools do not have the guidance or understanding to support these students. Furthermore, many support measures lack sufficient evidence with an NSSI population. In this essay, I will explore NSSI in relation to children and young people, how schools can provide support and the barriers to implementation, to contribute to the NSSI literature supporting education systems, and to demonstrate the need for further research. The first section explores the need to help those at risk of NSSI, the groups at the most significant risk and the aforementioned view of NSSI as a coping mechanism. There is then an examination of four prevention and intervention measures available to schools: adapting the school curriculum; developing school belonging; providing a school policy; and utilising school counsellors. Each is shown to be evidence-based and potentially simple to implement, however, each is insufficient in its evidence of application within an NSSI population. In the final section, there are considerations towards the potential barriers preventing the discussed measures at the individual, school and systemic levels. As a result of these explorations, it is argued that there is an urgent need for greater NSSI research to provide evidence-informed practice.

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