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Chesswood Junior School

Chesswood Junior School

Self-Harm Guidance

This guidance is modelled on the NSPCC structure for managing Self-harm

Self-harm can take lots of physical forms, including cutting, burning, bruising, scratching, hair-pulling, poisoning, starving, binge eating, overdosing and over exercising.

There are many reasons why children and young people try to hurt themselves. And once they start, it can become a compulsion. That's why it's so important to spot it as soon as possible and do everything you can to help.

Self-harm isn’t usually a suicide attempt or a cry for attention. Instead, it’s often a way for young people to release overwhelming emotions. It’s a way of coping. So whatever the reason, it should be taken seriously.

Self-harm is the fourth most common concern that children and young people contact ChildLine about. There were over 19,000 ChildLine counselling sessions about self-harm in 2014/15.

Typically, a small number of children at Chesswood Junior School (less than 5) become involved in acts of self-harm each academic year. Overwhelmingly they are within upper year groups Year 6 and previously Year 7) and undertake acts of scratching or cutting skin, usually forearms or wrists with sharp objects including sharp plastic laminated sheet

Why Children Harm Themselves

The exact reasons why children and young people decide to hurt themselves aren't always easy to work out. In fact, they might not even know exactly why they do it.

There are links between depression and self-harm. Quite often a child or young person who is self-harming is being bullied, under too much pressure to do well at school, being emotionally abused, grieving or having relationship problems with family or friends.

The feelings that these issues bring up can include:

  • low self-esteem and low confidence
  • loneliness
  • sadness
  • anger
  • numbness
  • lack of control over their lives

Often, the physical pain of self-harm might feel easier to deal with than the emotional pain that's behind it. It can also make a young person feel they're in control of at least one part of their lives.

Sometimes it can also be a way for them to punish themselves for something they've done or have been accused of doing.