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Massey University Research Study

In New Zealand, research indicates up to 50% of adolescents have engaged in self-injury before the end of high school. Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) is the intentional, culturally unaccepted, self-inflicted, immediate and direct destruction of body tissue, absent of lethality and suicidal intent. It is often a sign of psychological distress, intense emotions, maladaptive coping strategies or behavioural responses to unhealthy environments. NSSI commonly starts for individuals in the adolescent years.

Although help and support are predominantly sought through parents and peers, teachers and school staff have also been identified as those at times trusted with disclosure of NSSI. School staff are also in one of the best positions to identify possible NSSI in students. Particularly for those students who do not feel comfortable or ready to seek help and support and have limited support systems.

In New Zealand, one of the places where responsibility has fallen is to schools, more specifically onto teachers and support staff, to support students with NSSI behaviour and the knock-on effect it has on being in the school environment and learning. Presently training and education in this area is on a school by school basis. This means that students and staff supporting those with NSSI behaviour who attend a school which has not had training or additional supports in place can be limited by the support and understanding they receive from staff.

I am a student of Massey University currently undertaking research for my Masters thesis. I have created a brief survey which aims to take the first step in understanding NSSI beliefs, attitudes and knowledge of high school staff in New Zealand. Understanding the current knowledge, beliefs and attitudes of high school staff towards NSSI will be instrumental in supporting any future resources in schools as staff members are critical to their implementation. Research also indicates that training and experience with NSSI increases staff confidence and understanding towards students with NSSI.

I am hoping to hear from staff in a range of positions in high schools, so we hear not only the voices of the teachers but also the staff in the office, the support staff helping in the classrooms etc. NSSI is a behaviour which can be distressing for both the individual as well as those who witness and support those with the behaviour. So, this research is more about the bigger picture and how best to support those supporting our students.

Participating involves simply completing a brief online survey which will take between five to fifteen minutes, depending on how questions are answered. No personal information is requested in this survey, answers are strictly confidential and in no way connected to individuals or their place of employment. An information sheet is attached at the beginning of the survey outlining further information for participants.

Survey link

Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Questionnaire

I can be reached on my email:

For any questions or concerns participants may have.


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