Suicide and Self Harm

Any child or young person who self-harms or expresses thoughts about this or about suicide must be taken seriously and appropriate help and intervention should be offered at the earliest point. Any practitioner, who is made aware that a child or young person has self-harmed, or is contemplating this or suicide, should talk with the child or young person without delay.

Young Minds, the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and the Royal College of Psychiatrists have created a series of films and digital resource packs on self-harm. These have been created with the help of children and young people, parents and professionals - Young Mindsthis external link will open in a new window

Self-Harm and Suicide Alertness Workshops : are delivered over a half day to those who have direct contact with children and young people who would like to feel more confident talking about self-harm and suicide and know where and how to help them seek further support.  The workshops are delivered across the County by Carlisle Eden Mind.  500 places are offered for 2018 - 19

Every Life Matters has published an online booklet providing guidance to looking after yourself and others Wellbeing and mental health during COVID-19this external link will open in a new window.  

Further information can be found below

Suicide Alertness Additional Informationthis external link will open in a new window

Additional Resourcethis external link will open in a new window

"ASK" Workshops specifically address suicide risk in children aged 5-14 giving participants developmentally appropriate strategies and support tools. 

Every Life Matters will be hosting two one-day “ASK” workshops during March;

  • 10th March – Queen Katherine School – Kendal
  • 25th March – Ewanrigg Community Centre - Maryport

For more details and to book a place : this external link will open in a new window

About the 'ASK' Workshops

Developed in Canada by Lifeline Workshops, and the Team behind ASIST, the "ASK" Workshop, Assessing for Suicide in Kids, is the only suicide prevention workshop that specifically addresses suicide risk in children and gives participants developmentally appropriate strategies and tools to identify young children at risk of suicide and quickly gather and organize key details needed to assess risk and inform safety planning. 

Without help, children thinking of suicide may become teens who act on those thoughts. In just one day, we can teach you what to look for, how to respond, and what to do, that can make a life-saving difference for a child at risk of suicide. 

“ASK” is being delivered for the first time in Cumbria by Every Life Matters, a local suicide prevention and suicide bereavement support charity. 


  • The one-day “ASK” workshop challenges commonly held notions about childrens’ capacity to consider suicide. 
  • It facilitates awareness of the signs that a young child may be at risk and what is needed to help. Case studies and simulations provide opportunities to apply what is learned. 
  • A brief screening tool guides helpers to determine risk and make appropriate referral connections. 
  • A helper tool teaches how to organize and summarize the available information about a given child in a form that can be used by someone, perhaps the participants themselves, in safety planning. 
  • Common challenges in working with parents and possible solutions are addressed through guided simulations and discussion. 
  • Participants are typically helpers who routinely come into contact with children age 5-14. 

Learning objectives 

The desired learning outcomes of The "ASK" Workshop are that participants will: 

  • recognize how a child’s understandings of death and suicide may be implicated in risk; 
  • become aware of the ways children at risk of suicide communicate their need for help; 
  • recognize factors that may increase suicide risk and those that may mitigate it; 
  • know how to work with both in order to formulate the basis of a plan for safety; 
  • recognize the need to enlist the support of others to develop a plan for safety; 
  • understand and be able to meet common challenges in working with parents to facilitate safety. 

Participants of The "ASK" Workshop leave better equipped to reduce the risk of suicide and enlist help for young children. 

Workshop process 

The "ASK" Workshop successfully blends a variety of teaching and learning modalities including mini-lecture, Socratic dialogue, video, small group work, guided simulations, and case studies. Led by one facilitator, from 12 to 36 participants can comfortably work through the material together. Participants receive a colour workbook, pocket reference, risk assessment worksheet that can be re-ordered at no cost, and certificate of completion. 

The workshop runs 9.00-5.00 on one day for up to 25 participants and will be delivered by Every Life Matters Associate Trainer Alice Newton-Leeming, and accredited ASK trainer former National Training Development Manager with Papyrus.

Cost is £100. Lunch and refreshments are provided.


For more information about “ASK” and Lifeline Workshops visit

This guidance aims to help you identify what to do, who to contact and where to get help when you have concerns about self-harm in children and young people.  Self-harm can occur in childhood but it becomes increasingly common from early adolescence; for this reason, this guidance uses the term 'young people' as shorthand.

Please see Guidance for professionals working with children and young people who self-harm (PDF)this external link will open in a new window

This guidance includes useful links to sources of best practice, advice, information and support.  Please refer to page 12 of the guidance.

About this guidance

This guidance has been developed by a multi-agency group consisting of Cumbrian GPs, teachers, early help practitioners, Child and Adolescent Mental health professionals, staff from acute hospitals, public health doctors and members of third sector organisations.  This group worked together over a period of months in response to feedback from local children and young people, their parents, professionals, and external inspections that had identified the need for a Cumbrian multi-agency pathway for self-harm.

The multi-agency pathway is an integral part of the whole system model to ensure the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people.  The pathway development group reports to the Cumbria Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health of Children and Young People Partnership Group, itself accountable to the Cumbria Children's Trust Board.  It aims to be flexible and responsive to other work underway to implement the whole system model.  It will be piloted over the coming months, and reviewed initially at 6 monthly intervals as the system evolves.

This self-harm guidance is one of several measures being taken across the 'whole system' to improve the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people in Cumbria.  Workforce development is another key element.

The training programme that accompanies this guidance will include, at level one, the self-harm and risky behaviour module of the MindEd e-learning packagethis external link will open in a new window Please contact Michael Boaden for more information or dial 01228 543354 / 585012 (mobile 07474 801723)

FREE Self-Harm & Suicide Alertness Training Dates December 2019 (Allerdale area)this external link will open in a new window

FREE Self-Harm & Suicide Alertness Training 2019_2020

Papyrus supports young people, parents/carers and professionals, to prevent young suicide.  The website provides useful resources and guidance including information on internet safety external link will open in a new window
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