Laura Haddow, Training and Marketing Manger for SelfharmUK, offers advice about how you can equip yourself as a Professional to deal with a self-harm disclosure.

It’s a Friday at the end of term and a young person asks to speak to you before you leave for the day. “I just wanted to tell someone that I self-harm’ they say.

As a professional in that moment, you may find yourself asking one or both of the following questions?

‘How do I respond?’

‘What if I say the wrong thing and make the situation worse?’

You are not alone in feeling that way, disclosure rates around self-harm in schools are at an all-time high* and many feel unsure of how best to respond.

Disclosures often happen when we are least expecting them and they can catch us off guard or left feeling unprepared. Young people may not always go to the person you’d expect them to, such as a school counsellor, most will initially go to someone they trust, and that may be you. Are you equipped and confident to know how to help?

SelfharmUK offer two different lengths of training course for schools, one over half a day and the other over a whole day.

Whether as a school you feel you would benefit from a good, basic level of understanding of what self-harm is and how if effects young people, or you’d like to delve in further and look at writing specific guidelines and policy for your school, then there’s a course to suit your needs.

Our sessions are designed for teachers, head of year staff, school nurses, counsellors and PHSE staff and are helpful for anyone working with young people professionally in a school setting.

The training covers indicators, signs we can be aware of as professionals that may indicate that a young person is beginning to struggle with self-harm. We also cover how to respond to disclosure in a calm and supportive way, the best things to say and perhaps not to say. We look at the latest statistics nationally and dispel some of the myth and stigma around why young people harm, along with giving some fantastic practical tools around support and alternatives.

All delegates on a SelfharmUK training course receive a certificate upon completion of the course, signposting materials, a training pack and 10% discount off all resources.

For more information please email training@selfharm.co.uk or visit our training website.

*10-13% of young people self-harm.

As we continue to raise awareness of the issue and break down the stigma around self-harm, more young people than ever are feeling able to come forward for help without fear of misunderstanding or judgement. 

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