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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the point of this project?

Self-harm in young people is a significant public health concern.  The causes and triggers for self-harm are complex and those supporting children and young people can find self-harm a distressing or thorny issue to deal with.  Understandably, those working with children and young people want to know how best to, and most safely and appropriately, support them.  However, sources of support available are varied and not always known by professionals working on the ground.

The support available to children and young people who self-harm is broad and varied depending on local context, and there is a need to understand these initiatives collectively across services and staffing groups.

This project has been developed following the publication of the new National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on self-harm which, for the first time, also contains recommendations for education.


How can I contribute to this project?

We would like to hear directly from people working with children and young people in Bracknell Forest who self-harm.  We are keen to hear about experiences of professionals working alongside children and young people, as well as those who might supervise or support staff in front line roles.

The first step is to join our Learning Network to keep up to date with project information and opportunities to participate. You can join the Learning Network for this project through this link: Join the Learning Network

We hope you will wish to contribute to this project in the following ways:

Completing an online Workforce Survey, which we will issue over the coming weeks.  This represents an opportunity for you to share your experiences and views and to “tell it like it is” on the ground.

We will also invite you to take part in a Reflective Session.  These will be held face-to-face at a venue in Bracknell (the Council Offices at Time Square, or within one of the Family Hubs in Bracknell) and a full list of dates, times, and locations will is available here.

You can also contribute by sharing this information and encouraging your colleagues and contacts to participate via the Survey and Reflective Sessions.  Your support and enthusiasm will always be appreciated.

Sharing with us any training, resources or digital support tools you use when supporting a child or young person who has self-harmed or their families and carers.


What is a Learning Network?

A Learning network put simply is a mailing list with the opportunity for those included to share, connect and learn from each other. Engaging as much or as little as they wish to with no pressure or expectation to take any action.

A learning network supports people to develop and maintain connections with people and information, this way of learning together will facilitate growing connections between those who work with children and young people in Bracknell Forest.

For this project, the learning network will be the main route of communication and information sharing about the project to those who are working with children and young people in the Bracknell Forest area.

Key updates will also be posted on the Oxford AHSN website:


What is the Workforce Survey about?

The aim of the workforce survey is to gain a deeper understanding of local professional’s experience of self-harm amongst children and young people.  Anyone who works with children and young people within Bracknell Forest is encouraged to complete our Survey.  Our survey is not a test of your knowledge, there are no right or wrong answers, and all responses will remain anonymous.


What are the Reflective Sessions about?

Anyone working with Children and Young People in Bracknell Forest are invited to participate in one of the Reflective Sessions which we will hold over March and April.  Everyone is welcome to attend, and we hope you will share our invitation with all your colleagues so we can have a broad selection of sectors, roles and services represented.

Sessions will last for under two hours and be held at various times of the day.  Sessions will be facilitated, and discussion centred around various themes and discussion points related to children and young people who self-harm.  Contributions or quotes will not be attributed, and we will create a ‘Brave Space’ where everyone can contribute freely about their experiences without the need to “problem solve.”

Each session will comprise up to 12 participants from a variety of disciplines (schools, primary care, secondary healthcare, voluntary or community settings etc.) and refreshments will be provided.

Sign up for a reflective session here.


What is a Brave Space?

Although there is not a single, comprehensive definition of a Brave Space, a Brave Space is a supportive place where all participants feel comfortable learning together, sharing honestly and equally, and growing together and individually.

Brave Spaces are inclusive of all genders, sexes, races, abilities, languages, and experiences.  They can help to encourage open and direct dialogue around difficult or challenging subjects such as self-harm.  We hope this approach will prove productive and empowering.


Will the Reflective Sessions be recorded?

No.  Sessions will not be recorded.  We hope that this will allow for participants to engage freely and encourage honest, open and wide-ranging discussions, without the need or pressure to problem solve.  Themes arising from discussion will be written on whiteboards, by facilitators, in full view of all participants to allow for transparency.


What will you do with the material gathered from the Workforce Survey and the Reflective Sessions?

The contributions that we receive and gather through this process will be analysed to draw out the key themes and learnings.  Contributions received through the Workforce Survey will also inform our Reflective Sessions and our work on the NICE Guidance and baseline assessment.  We will also endeavour to keep you up to date with our key findings and insights throughout our project.


Can I participate in some parts, not everything?

Yes, we welcome you to participate in as much as you feel able to within the learning network.  The maximum involvement would be to complete the Workforce Survey and attend a Reflective Practice session, encouraging your Bracknell Forest colleagues to do similarly.  However, all levels of engagement and will, we hope, benefit those living and working across Bracknell Forest.


Can I still contribute to the project if we feel our experience of self-harm is limited?

Yes, all experience is welcome regardless of how often you work with young people who self-harm.


What do you mean by share the Project Launch Presentation with colleagues in schools?  Who should be involved?

We would like to hear from all staff who either work directly with or support staff who work directly with young people in Bracknell Forest who self-harm.  This could include Class Teachers, SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator), ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant), DSL (Designated Safeguarding Lead), Teaching Assistant, administrative, receptionist, and support staff.


A psychosocial assessment at the earliest opportunity after self-harm does not seem realistic given current waiting list pressures. How will this be managed?

We acknowledge that current waiting lists and access to support is a pressing issue for young people and this is why this project seeks to understand the impact that the new NICE guidance will have on services.


Primary schools are also in need of support and guidance around self-harm, is this something that will be covered by this project?

Yes, as we gather and collate resources and guidance across Bracknell Forest, we will be sharing this with all members of the learning network as the project progresses.  We will be exploring all aspects of support for children and young people across Bracknell Forest as part of this project.


For more information or to raise questions, please contact: