Helen Cutteridge who is a mental health worker in schools in Luton helps us to prepare for Self-Harm Awareness Day by looking at lesson plans and assemblies for teachers. She shares her expertise and passion for thos who self-harm through practical ideas. 

What can we do in schools to raise awareness and support students…

The 1st March is Self-Harm awareness day and it is the perfect opportunity for schools and youth groups to raise awareness and talk about an issue that impacts approx. 13% of teenagers. We here at SelfharmUK want to give you a few tips and activities that you could do to talk to your young people about this issue as well as what we can do to support the young people we work with who self-harm.

Conversation starter -  

Assemblies are an opportunity to get a whole year group, or even a school, together to speak about a certain subject, this video from Koko is 12minutes long and gives a brief introduction to the world of self-harm as well as a message of hope and recovery. If you don’t have 12minutes then show the first 6minutes 21seconds to see a helpful and positive interview with Rachel Welch.

You could also use it in smaller group settings or lessons, use it as opportunity to ask questions, and raise the subject of hope and recovery as well as fear and struggle.

True or False –

On our website, we have a whole section on facts around self-harm, you can also look on the ChildLine or NSPCC for some and do a true or false quiz with your students/young people.

Posters, signs and campaigns –

If you head over to the resources page here you will see that we have lots of posters as well as playing cards and postcards, having these around the place shows people that you have an understanding the self-harm is an issue and you want to talk to them about it. There are also charities like To Write Love On Her Arms who run twitter campaigns and sell clothes/merchandise which you can engage with on a simple awareness raising level.

Activities –

If you have the time to engage deeper with this subject then please do. If you know of any specific individuals then you could arrange to do 1:1 work with them, or encourage them to join Alumina, our online support group for 14-18year olds.

We also have Talking About Emotions Playing Cards that can be used to ask questions and explore the answers together.

Remember when we talk about self-harm it is a coping mechanism and so those young people who are struggling with it need our support and acceptance and not to be treated like it’s something to be ashamed off. Opening up the conversation helps to break the stigma and make it easier to ask for help. 

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