On Monday, Wedge and I attended a school in Exeter after being invited to speak on the subject of self-injury.

The school in question had recognised a need for more awareness on the subject for their staff and we were warmly welcomed by the school nurse who had organised the event, and all the teaching staff who attended.

It was fantastic to see a school take such a serious interest in self-injury and to recognise the need for a self-injury policy within their school.*

Self-injury affects so many young people it’s probably safe to say that every school in the country has pupils who hurt themselves in order to cope with their emotional distress. The difficulty is in making schools aware of this need and persuading them to acknowledge that self-injury *does* exist among their pupils.

We can’t blame schools for being reluctant; after all it wasn’t so many years ago that most schools refused to admit bullying existed within their walls and playgrounds. These days it’s accepted that bullying does take place within all schools, and the majority now have anti-bullying policies in place.

We hope that in time all schools will acknowledge the need for a self-injury policy, and the school we visited in Exeter has taken a huge step forward in helping towards self-injury awareness. We must congratulate and thank them for their open attitude and forward thinking.

Wedge’s talk, as always, was very well received, and we have been asked to return later in the academic year to talk again about self-injury to an even wider range of staff, including some from the attached junior school.

I should also mention that the school were impressed by our safe and user-friendly website and message board, and we have also been asked to return to talk about UK Child Internet Safety and how people can protect themselves online.

The day was a great experience – a significiant leap forward in our endeavours to raise awareness about self-injury and a fantastic commitment from the school involved.

We look forward to our return visits.

*Any schools interested in our self-injury training please contact Wedge@FirstSigns.org.uk or for our latest guidance document written specifically to assist schools wishing to implement a Self-Injury Policy please email Jules@FirstSigns.org.uk.

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