Responding to self-harm, including suicide attempts, in students: a guide to assist secondary schools

Developed in partnership with headspace, these guidelines assist school staff in recognising self-harm, responding to students' immediate needs and ensuring their safety.

  • Tier: Tier 3: Targeted support
  • Type of intervention: DET funded resources
  • Strength of evidence: Not applicable
  • Geographic location: State-wide

Program description

The guidelines, developed in partnership with headspace, assist school staff following an attempted suicide or an incident of self-harm.

They support schools to recognise an instance of self-harm, respond to students’ immediate needs and ensure their safety and the safety of peers surrounding them.

An evidence-informed and timely response to supporting students who have engaged, or continue to engage, in self-harming behaviours in response to psychological distress offers the opportunity to disrupt the cycle of self-harm, alleviate distress and reduce potential ongoing mental health and wellbeing difficulties in the future.

Tools, templates, scripts and factsheets and a one-page overview are provided.

Intended outcomes

  • Increased educator knowledge and understanding of self-harm and attempted suicide
  • Increased capacity to recognise and respond to instances of self-harm and attempted suicide
  • Enhanced response to student’s immediate needs to ensure their safety and the safety of those around them
  • Restored wellbeing.

Program details

Target audienceCapacity building for secondary school staff
Program providerDepartment of Education Victoria in partnership with headspace
Delivery modeOnline

Implementation considerations

  • Implementation can be supported with SAFEMinds and Suicide Risk Continuum Training.


  • Item cost: Free
  • Detailed cost: Backfilling may be required for staff to attend training