Self-harm: information and suggestions for school staff

Topic Selected: Self-harm and Suicide

General Article icon Type: General Article

Risk factors for self-harm behaviour

Any of the following risk factors may make a young person vulnerable to self-harm:

Individual factors

  • low mood/anxiety
  • an existing psychological or developmental difficulty (e.g. Asperger syndrome, learning difficulty)
  • difficulty communicating
  • low self-esteem
  • poor problem-solving skills
  • hopelessness
  • impulsivity
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • confusion about sexuality or feeling different/unaccepted (e.g. if gay, lesbian or bisexual).

Family factors

  • unreasonable expectations
  • religious/ethnicity/cultural identity dilemmas or conflict
  • young carers’ role within the family
  • domestic violence
  • neglect or abuse (physical, sexual or emotional)
  • poor parental relationships and arguments
  • depression, deliberate self-harm or suicide in the family.

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