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Out of harm’s way: self-harm support and advice from Harmless

31st March 2017

Here at Impero, we recently announced a new partnership with Harmless to help develop our keyword detection libraries available as part of our flagship product, Impero Education Pro.  Not only has Harmless helped to develop our libraries with self-harm related content designed to keep vulnerable students safe, but the voluntary organisation also host events at our Nottingham-based training suite, located at our UK head office. These events create great opportunities to promote awareness about sensitive topics and offer advice on self-harm support. Find out more about events by Harmless here. In this guest blog, Harmless offer advice for educators looking to open up a dialogue with at-risk students around the sensitive issue of self-harm.

Who are Harmless?

Harmless is a national voluntary organisation providing self-harm support to individuals self-harming, alongside their friends, families and professionals. The user-led organisation provides a range of services including support, information, training, and consultancy to help individuals affected by self-harm.

What and why?

Self-harm is defined as: an act of physical harm against oneself in order to cope with difficult thoughts, feelings or experiences. There are several reasons why people self-harm, which could include the following:

  • A coping strategy
  • An expression of emotional pain, stress and distress
  • A symptom of an underlying pain

Warning signs:

Warning signs are a key indicator or self-harming behaviour. They include:

  • Absences or lateness
  • Change in behaviour; quiet, calm etc.
  • Negative self-talk
  • Increasing isolation
  • Secrecy or disappearing
  • Long or baggy clothing even in warm weather
  • Avoids changing in front of others

What next?

For educators it can often be difficult to approach conversations with students who they suspect are self-harming. Harmless therefore suggest the following tips:

  • Stay calm
  • Listen non-judgmentally
  • Be patient
  • Try not to show fear or shock
  • Use open ended questions
  • Signpost effectively
  • Be genuine
  • Be positive
  • Promote recovery
  • Establish individual circumstances


Zak’s story – spotting the signs with Impero Education Pro

Would you be able to spot the signs? Watch Zak’s story below to discover how Impero’s partnership with Harmless can help to identify a vulnerable student at risk from harm.


For more information about safeguarding young people from self-harm visit Harmless’ website.

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