The Psychology of Self-Injury: Exploring Self-Harm & Mental Health

Self-Injury in Schools, with Dr. Nancy Heath

Episode Summary

Nancy Heath, PhD, from McGill University in Canada explains how schools can respond appropriately to students who engage in self-injury and self-harm.

Episode Notes

How can schools appropriately respond to students who engage in nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), whether the behavior occurs at home, on school grounds, or elsewhere? What protocols exist to support schools to better respond to students who self-injure? What role does liability play? In this episode, Dr. Nancy Heath of McGill University in Montreal, Canada explains how schools can support students who engage in self-injury and self-harm.

Learn more about Dr. Heath's work here, and learn more about her work with the Development and Intrapersonal Resilience (DAIR) Research Team here. Learn more about the International Consortium on Self-Injury in Educational Settings (ICSES) at

Self-injury Outreach & Support (SiOS) offers resources for schools here and a list of do's and don'ts here. Visit SiOS at and follow them on Facebook ( and Twitter (

Below are links to some of Dr. Heath's research as well as resources referenced in this episode:

  1. Hasking, P. A., Bloom, E., Lewis, S. P., & Baetens, I. (2020). Developing a policy, and professional development for school staff, to address and respond to nonsuicidal self-injury in schools. International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation, 9(3), 176.
  2. Berger, E., Hasking, P., & Reupert, A. (2015). Developing a policy to address nonsuicidal self-injury in schools. Journal of School Health, 85(9), 629-647.
  3. Lloyd-Richardson, E. E., Hasking, P., Lewis, S.P., Hamza, C., McAllister, M., Baetens, I., & Muehlenkamp, J. (2020). Addressing self-injury in schools, part 1: understanding nonsuicidal self-injury and the importance of respectful curiosity in supporting youth who engage in self-injury. NASN School Nurse, 35(2), 92-98.
  4. Lloyd-Richardson, E. E., Hasking, P., Lewis, S.P., Hamza, C., McAllister, M., Baetens, I., & Muehlenkamp, J. (2020). Addressing self-injury in schools, part 2: how school nurses can help with supporting assessment, ongoing care, and referral for treatment. NASN School Nurse, 35(2), 99-103.
  5. Lewis, S. P., Heath, N. L., Hasking, P. A., Hamza, C. A., Bloom, E. L., Lloyd-Richardson, E. E., & Whitlock, J. (2019). Advocacy for improved response to self-injury in schools: A call to action for school psychologists. Psychological Services, 17(S1), 86–92.
  6. De Riggi, M. E., Moumne, S., Heath, N. L., & Lewis, S. P. (2017). Non-suicidal self-injury in our schools: a review and research-informed guidelines for school mental health professionals. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 32(2), 122-143.
  7. Whitlock, J. L., Baetens, I., Lloyd-Richardson, E., Hasking, P., Hamza, C., Lewis, S., Franz, P., & Robinson, K. (2018). Helping schools support caregivers of youth who self-injure: Considerations and recommendations. School Psychology International, 39(3), 312-328.
  8. Hasking, P. A., Heath, N. L., Kaess, M., Lewis, S. P., Plener, P. L., Walsh, B. W., .Whitlock, J., & Wilson, M. S. (2016). Position paper for guiding response to non-suicidal self-injury in schools. School Psychology International, 37(6), 644-663. Open access here.
  9. Book: Self-Injury in Youth: The Essential Guide to Assessment and Intervention (2008) by Drs. Mary Nixon & Nancy Heath 

Follow Dr. Westers on Instagram and Twitter (@DocWesters). To join ISSS, visit and follow ISSS on Facebook and Twitter (@ITripleS).

The Psychology of Self-Injury podcast has been rated #5 by Feedspot in their "Top 15 Clinical Psychology Podcasts You Must Follow in 2021" and by Welp Magazine in their "20 Best Injury Podcasts of 2021."