The Body as a Voice

Non-suicidal Self-Injury in the School Context

Presented by Dr. Madeline Wishart

Why do young people self-injure? The urge to cut, scratch, rub, tear and burn our skin seems in direct contrast to our innate instincts of self-preservation and survival. Yet, nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a significant physical and mental health concern affecting adolescents, with an estimated lifetime prevalence in Australia of 8.1% over individuals over the age of 10 years (Martin, Swannell, Harrison, et al., 2010). NSSI is highly confronting and distressing to family, friends, and educators. The behaviour or its consequences results in significant personal costs, such as permanent physical scarring, significant distress, interference with interpersonal relationships, and school.

This full day workshop will focus on practical information and skills to manage nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) that can be assimilated directly back into your school environment. Beginning with differentiating NSSI from suicide, and operationally defining the behaviour, Madeline will present the results of her recent PhD research to provide a comprehensive profile of this NSSI. This workshop will also aid in the identification of young people who may be at greater risk of self-injuring. Madeline will also concentrate on harm minimisation and strategies that can be employed to help decrease self-injurious behaviours. The session will end with ways to minimise the potential spread of NSSI within your school.

See below for full workshop description and Dr Madeline Wishart's Bio.

2022 DATES

VIRTUAL Workshop: Wednesday 30th March
VIRTUAL Workshop: Wednesday 3rd August

All workshops are 9am - 4pm


Virtual Workshop*

Early Bird: $297 inc GST (15 days prior to workshop)
Standard: $352 inc GST (within 15 days of workshop)
* Please note that the virtual workshop is an online full day event. It will not be recorded


Dr. Madeline Wishart has a special interest in NSSI, with her PhD exploring the psychosocial determinants of the acts and functions of nonsuicidal self-injury. She has a Masters in both Professional and Clinical Psychology. At Nillumbik Community Health Service, she co-developed and co-facilitated the From Harm To Calm therapeutic group, and wrote the first issues of the From Harm To Calm resource packs. Madeline has also worked as a youth, school, and trauma counsellor, sessional lecturer at Victoria University, and a research officer at YSAS in Melbourne. Madeline has over 15 years of experience presenting on managing NSSI in young people. She currently divides her time between her private practice – Wishart Psychology; Wyndham Clinic Private Hospital; and consulting and delivering professional development on NSSI.

Dr Wishart is an outstanding speaker. With an academic background and vast experience in working with young people engaging in NSSI, including years as a school counsellor, Dr Wishart provides extensive knowledge and a highly practical workshop - much of which you will be able to directly and immediately incorporate into your own schools.

Workshop Outline

Session 1

What is NSSI? Differentiating self-injury from suicide. Key features, prevalence rates, comorbidity, risk factors, short and long term consequences, and latest research findings.

Session 2

The myths about NSSI. Developing a theoretical understanding of NSSI and why students self-injure. The functions of NSSI and how to assess them. The environmental effects of self-injury and how to manage these effects within the school community. Duty of care responsibilities.

Session 3

Managing & containing NSSI in the school context. Developing a written protocols for supporting students who are engaging in nonsuicidal self-injury and minimising the potential spread of NSSI within your school. Location and method of NSSI. Key components in minimising harm around self-injurious behaviours. Appropriate steps when a student discloses self-injury for friends, parents, and school staff. Undertaking a basic medical assessment and appropriate referral.

Session 4

Working with students who self-injure: NSSI safety planning, exploring alternatives to self-injury, including targeted coping skills to meet the functions of your students’ self-injury. Developing a coping kit.