Self Harm Mental Health Concerns Policy


  • All governors, teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents should have an understanding of what self-harming is.
  • All governors, teaching and non-teaching staff should know what the school policy is on self-harm, and follow it when self-harm is reported or suspected.


  • To increase understanding and awareness of self-harm.
  • To alert staff to warning signs and risk factors.
  • To provide support to staff dealing with students who self-harm.
  • To provide support to students who self-harm and their peers and parents/carers.


Newman College will follow the procedures as laid down by the Local Safeguarding Children Board, will respect issues of confidentiality and will give priority to working together with other agencies to protect Children in our care particularly those who have been identified as being at risk of self-harm or have mental health concerns. In this statement, and protocol, staff includes both teachers and any other person employed to work in the College who has contact with ‘Our children’.

Definition of Self-Harm

Self-harm is any behaviour where the intent is to deliberately cause harm to one’s own body for example:

  • Cutting, scratching, scraping or picking skin
  • Swallowing inedible objects
  • Taking an overdose of prescription or non-prescription drugs
  • Swallowing hazardous materials or substances
  • Burning or scalding
  • Hair-pulling
  • Banging or hitting the head or other parts of the body
  • Scouring or scrubbing the body excessively.

Risk Factors

The following risk factors, particularly in combination, may make a young person particularly vulnerable to self-harm:

Individual Factors

  • Depression / anxiety
  • Poor communication skills
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor problem-solving skill
  • Hopelessness
  • Impulsivity
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Weight issues.

Family (home-life) Factors

  • Unreasonable expectations
  • Neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse
  • Poor parental relationships and arguments
  • Depression, self-harm or suicide in the family.

Social Factors

  • Difficulty in making relationships / loneliness
  • Being bullied or rejected by peers.

Warning Signs

Where staff may become aware of warning signs which indicate a student is experiencing difficulties that may lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide. These warning signs should always be taken seriously and staff observing any of these warning signs should seek further advice from one of the designated safeguarding team. (Designated Safeguarding Team- appendix A).

Possible Warning Signs Include:

  • Changes in eating / sleeping habits (e.g. student may appear overly tired if not sleeping well).
  • Increased isolation from friends or family, becoming socially withdrawn.
  • Changes in activity and mood e.g. more aggressive or introverted than usual.
  • Lowering of academic achievement.
  • Talking or joking about self-harm or suicide.
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol.
  • Expressing feelings of failure, uselessness or loss of hope.
  • Changes in clothing e.g. becoming a Goth.

The Role and Responsibilities of Every Member of Staff is to:

  • Know who the members of the Designated Safeguarding Team are;
  • Statutory Requirement to Read and Sign acknowledgement of receiving of Part One: Safeguarding Information for All Staff (Department Of Education July 2015).
  • Be familiar and follow the Internal College procedures; Staff Information Safeguarding Documents.
  • Understand the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead;
  • Attend Internal Safeguarding Training;
  • Ensure that in front of other pupils they do not treat any child they know to have self-harmed or mental health concerns any differently from other pupils;
  • Have a general awareness of the possible indicators of self-harm;
  • Keep confidential any sensitive information which has been shared with them.

If a Member of Staff has concerns about a child, or a child has disclosed self-harm

  • Staff will follow the guidelines and the Designated Safeguarding staff will then follow the internal-Safeguarding/ Child Protection procedures.
  • Children and Families New to England or the UK- If necessary involve representation from the interpreter services.
  • Listen carefully; reassure them that they were right to tell you.
  • Seek medical attention via First Aider – Report to reception.
  • If 1st Aid treatment given- Complete form via reception.
  • Do not try to investigate or ask leading questions.
  • Explain that you must tell someone else who can help them.
  • Report your concerns to the Safeguarding Team using the CPOMS system to log the incident and alert them.
  • Do not discuss or pass judgement.

Following the report, the designated safeguarding officer will decide on the appropriate course of action.

  • Contacting parents /carers
  • Seek advice from External agencies i.e. Young Healthy Mind(Reflections) School Health Advisors/MASH/MIND
  • Submit referral to partner agencies
  • Internal support via Pastoral/Inclusion.

Further Considerations

Any meetings with a student, their parents/guardians regarding self- harm should be recorded in writing using the CPOMS system including:

  • Dates and times
  • An action plan
  • Concerns raised
  • Details of anyone else who has been informed.

Internal Support External Support

Safeguarding Officers Healthy Young Minds (CAMHS/Reflections)

Pastoral Manager School Health Advisor- Gillian Leigh

Link and Fold staff MIND

Pastoral Co-ordinators MASH Team

In- school Counsellors NHS Direct

Mentoring Programme National Self-Harm Network

Reflection Programme/ Well-Being Local Children’s Safeguarding Board

Newman College Self-Harm Policy Action Flowchart

Student self-referral

Students can self-refer via Newman College’s here4u email

Newman College Designated Safeguarding Team

Designated Person(s)

Margaret Sweeney (Staff) Pastoral Team Manager

Lindsay Lloyd Learning Mentor

Jenny Huddart Pastoral Co-ordinator

Joanne Green Pastoral Co-ordinator

Kate Diveney Assistant Headteacher

Glyn Potts Headteacher & PREVENT Lead

Helen Scott Associate Deputy Headteacher

Christine Cavill Child Protection Governor

Margaret Sweeney (Governor) PREVENT Lead

Gary Kearns Designated Teacher for (LAC) Looked After Children