An article last week in the Sunday Telegraph attempted to shine a light on the number of student in NSW who are self-harming.

According to the article, two students every week are self harming as a result of bullying or mental health issues.

I’m of the opinion that this is grossly underestimating the real number.

I wonder if the figures reported in this article is based purely on those that presented as serious or violent incidents in school. This article presents a more realistic take on things. Evidence suggests that at most only around 10% of kids who self harm present for hospital treatment.

In the Tele article, Beyond Blue’s deputy chief executive officer Dr Brian Graetz said schools were on the “front line of mental health in children” – And yet teachers receive minimal training in dealing with such issues. Most schools only have a part-time school counsellor and many don’t have one at all.

There are some great programs out there, HeadStrong by Black Dog Institute for example is aligned to the Health and Physical Education curricula of states and territories, as well as QUT’s Resourceful Adolescent Program.

Why not have a look at them and see if they complement your schools approach to wellbeing. Dr Graetz suggests that many schools already invest in programs like this, and I agree that they do, but I also wonder how many of these programs are gathering dust, or aren’t part of the whole school culture.

Author: Dan Haesler is a teacher, consultant and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars. His website is: and he tweets at @danhaesler