It is reported/ an investigation is underway after teachers gave razor blades to vulnerable youngsters as part of a controversial "controlled self-harm" policy at a specialist school. The school teaches boys and girls from the ages of 7-19 who have Aspergers syndrome and they were given access to sterile blade kits and were allowed to self harm in a safe and controlled manner in a bathroom.
It seems odd however I've self harmed before and was told if I couldn't stop I was to do it safely. For someone who uses a razor, this would consist of using a clean blade with antiseptic, as this school have provided. Its better than forcing the behavior - which can be an important and significant coping mechanism - to be carried in secret and less safely.
I believe that controlled self harm - ie the person has to tell someone about their need to do so, talk about it, is provided with safe items to do so, treated for it, and then talked about again - is a fairly common way of helping people who self harm now. It recognises that it is not attention seeking etc, but a way of letting out severe emotional/mental pain as physical pain, and that trying to stop people doing so if they need to will result in them still self harming, but concealing it and doing so in ever more unsafe ways
I can't see the article because I'm not a subscriber.
But it does sound like the same philosophy as that which leads to interventions such as clean needle exchanges for injecting addicts: trying to minimise the harm of the action whilst also tackling the addiction itself.
Of course, if there were no parallel interventions to tackle the self harm itself, or if the staff working with these poor children were not trained and experienced in effective interventions, then it would be very shocking indeed.
I used to self harm, and I can see sense in this. A clean blade in a controlled environment rather than anything sharp you can get your hands on (as in a rusty blade, broken bottle, or even a sewing pin) is better.
From what I can see the school is a facility for children with Aspergers/autism run by the priory.
It may not be the norm but if someone is hellbent on hurting themselves, sometimes part of recovery is letting them do it and tackle the reasons at the same time.