ERIC Number: EJ734447
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-May
Deliberate Self-Harm in Adolescence: A Challenge for Schools
British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, v34 n2 p161-175 May 2006
Acts of deliberate self-harm (DSH) by adolescents are thought to be on the increase. Many of those who self-harm are of school age and it is to be expected that schools (and their teachers) will be aware of the problem and will respond appropriately as part of their pastoral-care provision. However, a recent survey of research in pastoral care and personal-social education undertaken by the author found virtually no reference to DSH. It appears that empirical evidence about schools' experience of, and responses to, DSH does not exist. This paper reports some of the findings of a Nuffield Foundation-funded study undertaken in England in 2003/2004. A variety of self-harming behaviours, from cutting to unnecessary risk-taking, were reported by the 34 teachers and other professionals interviewed in schools, pupil referral units and support agencies such as child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). The findings indicate that teachers' awareness of DSH is patchy and that their reactions are often those of shock, panic and anxiety. The implications of the findings for those in education are considered in the context of a discussion of the literature. The contested status of the concept of deliberate self-harm, the need for a cautious raising of awareness, and the importance of supervision for front-line workers in schools are amongst the issues considered.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Adolescents, Self Destructive Behavior, Mental Health, Teacher Response, Anxiety, Psychological Patterns, Student Behavior, Teacher Attitudes, High Risk Students, Teacher Role
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)