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Background and aims

In the UK, suicide attempts and rates of self-harm have increased in adolescents, with admissions to hospital through self-injury continuing to increase year on year.

CAMHS nurses from Northumbria Health NHS Foundation Trust led on a project alongside a multi-agency group, of teachers, charity workers, students and health professionals to look at reducing self harm in children and young people.

The aim of this project was to create an equality in how self-harm could be managed in schools. It aimed to implement a whole school approach to managing self-harm in children and young people across the borough.


The project included raising awareness of self-harm management within schools and amongst children and young people achieved through:

  • Development and delivery of a training package for the early identification of self-harm and the management of self-harm.
  • Resources for education and health staff where self-harming behaviours are identified in children and young people.
  • Resources for children and young people.
  • Development of a standardised process/guide for the management of self-harm across all school systems in North Tyneside.

All schools in North Tyneside took part in the training, with a variety of staff attending including:

  • Teachers
  • Learning mentors
  • Teaching assistants
  • SENCO’s
  • Educational psychologists
  • Public health staff
  • School nurses

Outcomes and benefits

The collaborative approach across agencies in North Tyneside contributed to the success and sustainability of this project. It brought together professionals who were all struggling to manage a significant issue and enabled them to pool resources, skills and knowledge to develop the training and resources for use in practice.

Overall the project approach:

  • Increased awareness of self-harm within North Tyneside for professionals, voluntary agencies, parents, carers, children and young people.
  • Increased awareness within the learning disability field to ensure self-harm is addressed in the same way as with everyone else.
  • Provided a clear process for the management of self-harm through the guide developed.
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of the services and agencies available to support the management of self-harm.
  • Provided resources to support professionals to open up discussions with children and young people who are self-harming.
  • Provided information on wider resources available for support.
  • Built resilience amongst children and young people through awareness raising sessions.

Additional information

For more information about the project within Northumbria Health NHS Foundation Trust, visit the patient experience network case study.

The aim of the ZSA Case Studies is to introduce users to a range of examples of new and innovative practice, with the broad aim of working to support people with their mental health, bring awareness to and help prevent incidence of suicide. Please seek further information by contacting the ZSA and appropriate professional input prior to making a decision over its use.

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Content last updated: 16/01/2023

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