School Psychology Forum

Understanding Nonsuicidal Self-Injury in Youth

Janis Whitlock & Karen Rodham

Nonsuicidal Self Injury, pp. 93-110

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ABSTRACT: In this article we summarize what is known about nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) in youth. First, we describe basic demographic trends, prevalence, and function. Then we turn our attention to the implications of NSSI for schools, school-related policies, and school guidelines. Having provided an overview of the field, we conclude that even in the absence of academic and clinical consensus of the definition, measurement, and NSSI function, schools are uniquely poised to raise awareness about NSSI and about mental health issues in general among their students and their staff. By taking proactive approaches to building awareness and skills, schools are well positioned to assist in equipping young people with the skills they need to better cope with the inevitable vicissitudes of life including but not limited to NSSI.