Young people who have carried out an act of self-harm and first present in Education Services are an increasing cause for concern.
A joint agency pathway has been developed and implemented between Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) specialist CAMHS (external website) and Denbighshire Local Authority Education Services department, the goal of which is to provide a safe and supported response to helping young people who self-harm and first come to the attention of staff in school settings. The pathway ensures that on first disclosure of self-harm in an education setting, a trained Self-harm Link Officer will:
- listen to the young person with compassion
- gather initial information about what has happened including how the young person is feeling/presenting, and
- always contact specialist CAMHS to discuss and agree an initial risk management plan.
The pathway clearly defines what needs to be done and when, who should do it and who is responsible for what at each step. Underpinning each management plan is a joined up approach to any on-going support needs for young people. This includes ensuring that monitoring needs are clear and agreed.
Where it is agreed that part of a safety plan requires a comprehensive mental health assessment with a young person, referral into the local specialist CAMHS team will be facilitated via the links already established with the CAMHS team Single Point of Access (SPoA).
Self-harm Link Officers based in school settings
School based professionals were selected by Head Teachers to implement the agreed pathway in each high school. In Denbighshire these people are called Self-Harm Link Officers. Advice was issued to schools on the qualities required for the role and the on-going support required from the school for successful implementation.
To discuss young people who have (or indicated that they will) harm themselves, or to discuss with a mental health practitioner any concern relating to young people’s mental health please contact your local specialist CAMHS team single point of access (SPoA) Monday to Friday on 01745 448670 between 9am and 5pm.
For further information about training and follow on support please contact your link officer in Education Services.
Responding to a self-harm or suicidal act: Risk management (PDF, 88KB)