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Self harm who to contact??

(26 Posts)
Tinkerbellone Wed 11-Dec-19 07:09:10

My daughter is very unhappy at school.
She has is anxious about a lot of aspects of school. She's first term if Y7.
She has been to the pastoral team a few times. They have listened to her but have also told her to go back to lesson/go to the chapel/that she's just copying her friend.
I found superficial Self harm cuts/scratches on her arm last night. She won't talk about it. She Is happy at home & I know this is school anxiety linked.

Who do I contact at school now? Safeguarding lead? Head of year?

I've already been I twice about two different incidents (one was her attendance; to do with worries about school).
Any advice appreciated I've been up all night worrying.

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happygardening Wed 11-Dec-19 13:40:06

Im afraid self harm is very common in young people but it is not safe guarding issue unless you suspect that there is something sinister causing her anxiety/unhappiness but I don't think you do.
Talk to the school, do they have someone responsible for pastoral care? Many schools have student support workers/counsellors (although not necessary properly qualified) and talk to her head of year/tutor. Ask her permission to do this initially if she says no ask her why and say that you are concerned and that she is unhappy at school and feel you really should talk to someone there. Perhaps she could suggest a member of staff she likes that you could talk too.
You could also try her GP could she go on her own? Ask for one who's good with young people some just quite simply are not. CAMHs referrals are difficult to get and she may not meet the criteria for a referral but sometimes just talking to a HCP helps.
Most importantly let he know you are there at any time to listen and support her.
A colleagues DD self harmed and she paid for a short spell of counselling/CBT it was very expensive but she felt it was very beneficial and her DD stopped self harming. But depending where you live it can be difficult to find appropriately qualified counsellors many are keen to take it on but have no formal qualifications/actual regular experience with adolescents (check very carefully before you go down that road). I used to work in the area of children's mental health and had lots of contacts but despite working in a large affluent city we struggled to find appropriately qualified and experienced private counsellors for the children I worked with who failed to meet the criteria for a CAMHs ref.

noblegiraffe Wed 11-Dec-19 16:18:20

As a teacher if I spotted this I would contact the safeguarding lead. As a parent you might feel more comfortable with head of year, especially as you have had contact before, but it’s definitely something the school need to be aware of.

The school may have a counsellor who can talk to your DD now things are escalating.

happygardening Wed 11-Dec-19 18:10:37

Why would you contact the safeguarding lead?

imip Wed 11-Dec-19 18:14:32

My dd is 11 and also in first term of y7. Added to the mix, she had ASD and does often self harm. Transition is a difficult time, and it feels like first term is almost the honeymoon period until it sets in second terms. Cahms really haven’t been that bothered about it. She started self harming more methodically this time, and I told the SENCO who has referred it to cahms. Dd refuses to engage so I’ve previously said no, but school could refer to cahms
And you could visit GP also. Pot luck as to whether your in an area that would refer on or not.

imip Wed 11-Dec-19 18:15:39

As a TA, I would also tell a safeguarding lead, as a parent pastoral support/SEND team or HOY.

happygardening Wed 11-Dec-19 18:43:13

"Cahms really haven’t been that bothered about it"
Im afraid CAMHs are totally overwhelmed, for the individual and their families self harm is a serious concern but for CAMHs in the grand scheme of things it is fairly insignificant there is no way they can see very child who self harms.
I work with children we now see both self harming and self poisoning on an almost daily basis we do not bother to inform SS unless there are other issues and I'm afraid now a days they are going to have to be pretty significant for SS to even be remotely interested.

Teachermaths Wed 11-Dec-19 18:52:19

I would contact the safeguarding lead in Secondary. Possibly copying in head of year and form tutor if I felt it necessary. As a parent I would contact whoever I felt comfortable dealing with. If you don't know any of the staff then head of year would be the usual gatekeeper for this type of thing.

Why would you not contact the safeguarding lead?

happygardening Wed 11-Dec-19 19:44:15

Obviously I don’t work on education but I do liaises with SS on a daily basis as I said above self harm is not a safe guarding issue.

Teachermaths Wed 11-Dec-19 19:49:56

Self harm absolutely is a safeguarding issue. I'm not sure where you work but in a school it is expected you pass on this kind of information to the safeguarding lead in the school.

It may not be an issue that requires SS intervention but it is a safeguarding issue. The child is harming themselves therefore they are not safe.

Teachermaths Wed 11-Dec-19 19:51:29

To reiterate, not every safeguarding concern requires SS to be contacted. Most things are dealt with by the school with appropriate action. For self harm this could be an appointment with the school nurse, or contact parents who take dc to the GP, or regular check ins with a head of year etc.

OhTheRoses Wed 11-Dec-19 20:20:10

DD self harmed a little in Y7. Six sessions of therapy privately, self sourced. Bright girl no problems. Thought all well. In GCSE year she started cutting and od'ing secretly and we thought it was exam anxiety.

She had anxiety, depression and was escalating. GP wasn't interested until I read the riot act to the senior partner. CAMHS were worse than useless and it was more about competence, inflexibility and poor attitudes than it was about resources. Had they been properly organised and managed they could have seen a lot more people.

What we did was to find a consultant psychiatrist specialising in adolesence.

DD had a course of therapy, then propranalol, vit D and fluoxetine. It helped a bit. In response to dd's concerns she then had an ASD assessment and through that the psychiatrist picked up ADHD. At that point every piece of dd's jigsaw fitted togethwr and all the lights came on.

DD was started on methylphenidate and turned the corner. She also had about 18 more sessions of counselling (counsellors are like shoes - you have to try a few). 2.5 years on she is very together, at one of the UK's beat uni's and at one with herself.

CAMHS were only interested in excuses and parent blaming - they were incapable of diagnosis or even acknowledgin that anxiety and depression are often co-morbidities when there are neuro developmental disabilities. They were dishonest and did not care.

In short I wish back in yr 7 we had had her referred to a consultant psychiatrist and sorted it out much sooner before the depression took hold. It isn't always a silly habit "caught" from friends or due to poor parenting.

Sadly appropriate care was unobtainable via the NHS. It cost about £6000 but it was worth every penny. Had we got proper clinical care sooner it would have been cheaper and she'd have suffered less.

We had no idea. She had always been well behaved and was high performing and never did any teachef raise a concern except that her performance was variable sometimes bordering brilliance (she was lax about homework) and her handwriting was shocking. CAMHS tried to blame everything on non existing poor parenting. If there are resource issues some honesty about time frames and proper professional advice about what to do would have been useful.

Our local CAMHS has subsequently been under special measures and scrutiny having misused £2.3m given to them the year dd was referred to them.

Good luck OP. The Royal College of Psychiatrists website is helpful. Relate are now offering adolescent counselling, Mind have good resources too.

Good luck.

OhTheRoses Wed 11-Dec-19 20:29:35

Her 6th form, excellent school, was incredibly supportive but she did not want an overlap between her health care and her school. It was important to have a divide.

I question seriously the subcontracting of clinical mental healthcare to schools not least because pupils, like employees, are entitled to confidentiality and some separation in their lives. Sometimes it helps them to heal.

Clammyclam Wed 11-Dec-19 20:38:27

Whilst I agree self harm is a safeguarding issue that isn't the approach I would take.

If it was spotted in school it would be brought to the attention of the DSL, who would then assess as to how to proceed. More than likely call home.

So as you know what's going on. that kind of negates the need to inform DSL.

Instead I would ask to speak to HOY, I would arrange meeting. HoYs have the capacity to signpost to other professionals in school who can help. (Counsellors adult mentors, staff trained in helping students who SH)

HOYs can work with SENCO to develop a SEMH passport for your child & ensure there's a process developed to keep her safe whilst in their care.
They will likely do this with your daughter and you/ ask for input.

They I'll also risk assess her safety in terms of accessibility to sharps

Sadly this isn't uncommon and school should have a clear approach. This won't be their first experience. Talk to them in person and they will help.

YatzxyMummy Wed 11-Dec-19 22:00:40

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mummypoop Wed 11-Dec-19 22:01:47

thats fucking mean, your a sick human and should not be on the site, OP Please disregard this sick human being.

YatzxyMummy Wed 11-Dec-19 22:02:16

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YatzxyMummy Wed 11-Dec-19 22:03:19

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mummypoop Wed 11-Dec-19 22:03:30

Hey young man, I shall be contacting the police over this issue, you immature bastard.

YatzxyMummy Wed 11-Dec-19 22:04:24

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mummypoop Wed 11-Dec-19 22:05:16

Police have been called, you immature bastard.

YatzxyMummy Wed 11-Dec-19 22:06:14

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WatchingTheMoon Wed 11-Dec-19 22:08:51

Guys, don't feed the troll, just report and move on.

OP, I would take her to see her GP if that is what she wants. Don't drag her kicking and screaming but just show her that you support and love her and want her to get better.

They can possibly arrange therapy, or you can arrange it privately if that's financially possible.

Definitely talk to the school too, anyone who is in a leadership type role who seems sympathetic and easily approachable.

I used to self harm and my parents did nothing about it and it fucked me up becuase they just didn't care. Knowing that you do will make a huge difference to her.

Squidsister Wed 11-Dec-19 22:23:36

OP have you been to the GP to ask about getting a referral for counselling? Or would you consider a private counsellor?
The school need to be informed (I would inform the HoY) to see if they had help, is there a mentor or counsellor at school?
However I think schools can only do so much. They are teachers not mental health professionals. If she is anxious about school in Y7, how will she cope by the time she gets to GCSEs? I would be looking at getting professional support, to help her develop coping strategies and ways to manage her anxiety.

Tinkerbellone Fri 13-Dec-19 00:20:19

Thank you everyone.
Her sister has severe social anxiety and aspergers. So I do worry she has traits.

The school have taken it seriously and are offering six 1 to 1 sessions for her to talk and help her manage her anxiety followed by some group sessions.

I'm hoping this will help. Although she is bright she has never enjoyed school and often finds it overwhelming and struggles with friendships.

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