Ideal standards for policy on student self-harm: What research and practice tells us

Publication Name

School Psychology International


: School communities face challenges in responding effectively to the rising incidence of student self-harm. Evidence-informed guidelines may provide a platform for schools to provide better responses and improve the outcomes of students who engage in self-harm. : This paper critically reviews policies published in English targeted for schools or education settings on effective early identification and intervention for children and adolescent self-harm. A grey literature search was conducted using Start Page web search engine with a documentary analysis approach applied to review polices that met criteria. : The review identified 16 policies that aim to help school and education staff to identify and respond to student self-harm. The key themes include identification and risk assessment, intervention, roles and responsibilities, as well as addressing issues surrounding evidence-based psychological education and intervention. : An evidence-informed policy that addresses multiple aspects of responding to and reducing student self-harm may be a vital foundation of a school’s response to this growing public health issue. This paper outlines key points that will help inform the development of evidence-informed guidelines for schools to respond to student self-harm and presents an exemplar policy framework for use by schools.

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Funding Sponsor

NSW Department of Education



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