Volume 2, Issue 2 (Winter 2008)
Self-Injury and Youth: Best Practices for School Intervention
Linda M. Kanan, Jennifer Finger, and Amy E. Plog
Abstract: There is growing awareness and concern about youth who engage in selfinjurious behavior. School mental health practitioners need strategies and skills to work with these students in schools, to communicate about the problem with caring adults in these youths’ lives, and to collaborate with treatment professionals. This article focuses on self-injurious behavior such as cutting, scratching, and burning of skin in nonclinical populations. It outlines some of the misconceptions about the behavior, clarifies the distinction and overlap between self-injury and suicidal behavior, and discusses comorbid disorders and possible motivations for self-injurious behavior. The authors suggest best practice strategies to intervene with students, assess risk, notify parents, collaborate with community support, and work with these students in school settings.