New guidance on awareness of self harm launched in East Riding Schools

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Pupils at Secondary schools in Driffield and Beverley are to be given new guidance to assist them with the help and support they give young people who may be self-harming.

East Riding Safeguarding Children Board in partnership with East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s public health team and Humber NHS Foundation Trust, will be launching updated guidelines so school staff, including pastoral care teams, are aware of the signs of self-harm and know what help and support is available.

Self-harm is the term used when someone does something to deliberately hurt themselves and is often a way of the person trying to cope with painful and/or confusing feelings.

Self-harm can happen at any age but is most common in teenagers and can often present itself as cutting parts of the body but it can also include burning, hitting or taking an overdoes as well as eating disorders.

The guidelines, which came about following recommendations from a recent serious case review, will also be circulated to other professionals and organisations that work with children and young people.

Bron Sanders, independent chair of East Riding Safeguarding Children Board, said: “People who self-harm do it for all kinds of reasons and talking about it can be really hard.

“While self-harming has an immediate effect, creating instant relief, it is only temporary as the underlying emotional issues still remain.

“An important part of prevention of self-harm is having a supportive environment that is focused on building self-esteem and encouraging relationships.

“The updated guidelines will give people who come into contact with young people who may be self-harming, the advice and information they need to help and support those who need it.”


March 1 is national self-harm awareness day and the theme this year is focused on dispelling the myths around self-harm.

There are many misconceptions surrounding why people self-harm but the reality is that:

* self-harm is not a mental illness nor is it an attempt to commit suicide

* it doesn’t just affect girls as boys self-harm too but they are much less likely to tell anyone about it

* young people from all walks of life self-harm, regardless of their social or ethnic background

* self-harm is not a fashion fad, nor is it merely attention-seeking behaviour

* most importantly it is not easy for a young person to stop self-harming.

Why do young people self-harm?

Self-harm is often a way of trying to cope with painful and confusing feelings.

Difficult feelings that people who self-harm talk about include:

* feeling sad or worried

* not feeling very good or confident about themselves

* being hurt by others: physically, sexually or emotionally

* feeling under a lot of pressure at school or at home

* losing someone close, such as someone dying or leaving

When difficult or stressful things happen in a person’s life, it can trigger self-harm.

Upsetting events that may lead to self-harm include:

* arguments with family or friends

* break-up of a relationship

* failing, or thinking you are going to fail, exams

* being bullied

How you can cope with self-harm

Replacing the self-harm with other, safer coping strategies can be a positive and more helpful way with dealing with difficult things in life.

Helpful strategies can include:

* talking to someone to talk about your feelings, such as a friend or a family member

* talking to someone on the phone, such as a specific helpline

* writing about or drawing about your feelings, because sometimes it can be hard to talk about feelings

* scribbling on and/or ripping up paper

* go out for a walk, run or do some other form of exercise.

Getting help

At home: parents, brother/sister or another trusted family member.

At school: school nurse, teacher, teaching assistant or another trusted member of staff.

GP: You can talk to your doctor about any difficulties


Young Minds

Tel: 0207 336 8445 or email


Tel: 08457 90 90 90

MIND information line

Tel: 0845 766 0163

Youth Access

Tel: 0208 772 9900


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