New self-harm learning events will support schools, parents and carers

July 2021

West Sussex Mind and YMCA DownsLink have teamed up to launch a new initiative to help children and young people who are self-harming

The two organisations are setting up ‘learning networks’ across Sussex to help schools, parents and carers support young people and children who self-harm. There will be a series of learning events for schools in West Sussex, East Sussex and Brighton and Hove and another series of events for parents and carers.

West Sussex Mind chief executive Katie Glover said: “People working in educational settings and parents, families and carers across Sussex will be able to improve their understanding and skills to prevent and respond to self-harm. This is especially important here in Sussex as it has a higher than the national average of cases that result in a hospital admission.

“As a local mental health charity, we have seen first-hand the way in which the pandemic has affected people’s mental health and children and young people have been particularly impacted.

“It is imperative we continue to have open discussions with young people about their mental health and these self-harm learning events will support school staff, parents and carers to have those, often difficult, conversations which we know can help children and young people stay safe.”

YMCA DownLink’s director of children and young people, Rachel Brett, said: “As one of the biggest providers of counselling services across Sussex, we are proud to be part of this important partnership with schools and families.”

In addition to the learning events, there will be further guidance for parents and teachers on YMCA Downslink’s site: This will include information on early warning signs, how to respond to self-harm in schools and how to support your child.

Allsorts LGBT+ Youth project will also be working alongside West Sussex Mind and YMCA DownsLink to offer some focus groups and bitesize sessions.*

The self-harm learning events have been funded by Sussex Health and Care Partnership. WSCC consultant in public health Daniel MacIntyre said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to increase skills and understanding in this important area.”

The learning networks start in autumn 2021. If you would like to attend, please book your place on either the parent/carer or school event in your location at West Sussex Mind Events | Eventbrite

If you have an immediate concern about a child or young person self-harming, please visit or contact the Sussex Mental Healthline, a 24-hour NHS mental health line service, available to anyone concerned about their own mental health or that of a relative or friend. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Telephone: 0800 0309 500.

*Stonewall found that 84% of trans young people have self-harmed, and for lesbian, gay and bi young people who weren’t trans, 61% had self-harmed - Stonewall Schools Report, 2017.