What is ICSES?
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), the self-inflicted damage to body tissue without conscious suicidal intent (e.g., cutting; burning) is the most reliable predictor of later suicidal thoughts and behaviours. Up to one in five community-based adolescents engage in NSSI, making it of particular concern to schools. However NSSI is also highly prevalent among young adults, particularly university/college students. Adolescence and emerging adulthood are particularly turbulent periods of human development; understanding how NSSI is initiated and maintained, and how resilience is built, throughout this period is crucial to the development of successful prevention and intervention initiatives. Yet, the high rate of NSSI among students in schools and colleges poses unique challenges within these educational settings.
To tackle these challenges and others related to the educational environment, we founded the International Consortium on Self-Injury in Educational Settings (ICSES). ICSES is an, interdisciplinary and international research group consistent of leading researchers in the field of NSSI. Our research expertise covers psycho-social-cognitive factors, which underlie NSSI, neurobiology of NSSI, factors associated with stigma and the experience of recovery, the communications of NSSI online, education and training needs of school personnel, implementation and evaluation of school-based intervention, and the relationship between family functioning and NSSI.
Who are we?
What are our key priorities areas?
- Institutional level response: ICSES aims to assist schools and universities address NSSI on campus, and among the student body. This includes developing and evaluating institutional policy and exploring how staff in different roles can work together to support students and each other.
- Helping young people: ICSES is committed to improving the lives of young people who self-injure, and their peers, through improving understanding of how to safely discuss NSSI in educational and social contexts, and providing young people with the skills to support each other.
- Supporting parents and caregivers: ICSES recognises that self-injury not only impacts on young people and the educational environment, but also affects the parents and families of young people who self-injure. We aim to work with educational institutions to educate and support parents.
- Prevention and early intervention: Educational settings provide an optimal environment for prevention and early intervention of NSSI. However there is little empirical work to inform best practice. We will develop a strategic research program designed to improve primary and secondary prevention efforts in education settings.
- Outreach: ICSES is committed to ensuring the findings from our research reach the people who are best placed to implement them into practice.