School operations

Self-Harm and Attempted Suicide Response

When to use this Guide

This is a guide to assist all school staff, including school leadership and wellbeing staff in schools, to recognise and respond to instances of self-harm.

It will assist with:

  • recognising and responding to instances of self-harm
  • responding to the student’s immediate needs and ensuring their safety and the safety of those around them
  • providing timely and accurate information to parents/carers and other educators
  • restoring wellbeing.

This resource aims to:

  • guide the school’s response following all disclosures, evidence and incidents of self-harm in students, irrespective of the intent
  • provide a stepped approach to tasks required to restore safety and provide immediate mental health and wellbeing support within the school environment following disclosures and/or evidence of self-harm
  • increase awareness of the complexity of self-harming behaviours and the need to access appropriately trained mental health professionals in order to minimise the adverse mental health and wellbeing outcomes of engaging in this behaviour.

This guide is not:

  • suggesting that it is the role of educators to determine the intent of self-harm
  • a practice manual about the interventions and support offered to students engaging in self-harming behaviours
  • a clinical document
  • a stand-alone guide for supporting students in emotional distress and displaying mental health vulnerabilities.
Guidance chapter outlining when to use the Responding to self-harm, including suicide attempts, in students: a guide to assist secondary schools

Reviewed 14 October 2021

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