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School nurses take part in self-harm and eating disorder conference

Hounslow school nursing team

Friday 24 April 2015  

School nurses from the trust recently took part in a conference focussing on the effective management of self-harm and eating disorders.  

The conference, organised by STEM4 - a teenage mental health charity that promotes early awareness and intervention of four different mental health conditions - followed a similar event run at the Royal College of Nursing on the same topics earlier this year. 

For students who self-harm or for those with eating disorders - the school nurse is often their first point of contact to seek help. The conference provided learning and best practice for the trust’s school nurses in managing these complex conditions, but also explored practical ways in which school nurses can support students at all stages of their eating disorder.  

The conference also provided the trust’s school nurses with cutting edge information on the early detection of self-harm, explored ways in which self-harm can be minimised and managed within the school setting and also importantly introduced a new smart phone app ‘Calm-Harm’, developed by STEM4, which helps teenagers manage self-harm.   This clinician developed tool enables young people to curb the urge to self-harm and provides alternative strategies to help break the vicious cycle that these behaviours pose.  

There has been an increase of teenage mental health problems including a steep rise in self-harm and eating disorders, for example NHS figures obtained by BBC Newsbeat as reported by Dan Whitworth in January, showed a 20% rise in the number of 10-19 year olds admitted to hospital. According to the National Association of Head teachers and Lecturers spending cuts in local services have left schools without much expert medical help.  

Dr Nihara Krause, CEO and Founder of STEM4 is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with specialist experience in both eating disorders and self-harm facilitated the conference.  

Dr Krause has been a speaker at the three STEM4 conferences for school nurses as well as many school mental health conferences -where her work in helping schools manage clinical conditions as well as her contributions to developing resilience including the MindYour5 programme have been very well received.   

More information:

For more information about STEM4 and the work it does, go to the website at: www.stem4.org.uk

You can find out more about the trust's school nursing service at:  www.hrch.nhs.uk/school-nursing