Deliberate Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI) and suicide present distinct but related concerns for schools. An Australian study of over 6,300 families containing children/ adolescents aged 4 to 17 years found that one in 10 young people had engaged with NSSI – with three quarters of this cohort having harmed themselves in the previous twelve months (Lawrence, 2015). The same study found that within the 12 to 17 year old age group, one in 13 individuals had considered suicide in the previous 12 months, with one in 40 having made attempts (Lawrence, 2015). This article seeks to articulate key themes from literature that demand consideration by schools seeking to construct their own framework or pastoral response, balancing the prioritization of student safety whilst also attending to the realities of staff competencies. Given the age group presented in the Lawrence (2015) study, it should not be surprising that adolescents in the school context may disclosure the presence of intrusive thoughts pertaining to at-risk behaviours. Consequently, schools are well placed to deliver prevention services and simultaneously, need to be prepared to respond to situations of NSSI and suicide attempts. Drawing on the expertise of staff from an Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) school located in Brisbane, this paper draws links to existing policy determinants of pastoral care from within this Catholic school, whilst considering the issue of risk-to-self with relevant themes organized according to the three action areas outlined by the Queensland Suicide Action Prevention Plan (Queensland Mental Health Commission, 2015) namely: prevention; intervention; and postvention.
Wiseman, Martin and O'Gorman, Shannon
"School Based Responses to Non-Suicidal Self Injury and Suicide: Literature Considerations When Framing a Policy Response,"
eJournal of Catholic Education in Australasia: Vol. 3
, Article 12.
Available at: https://researchonline.nd.edu.au/ecea/vol3/iss1/12