Grant to benefit hundreds of school districts

Commerce – A $30,000 grant awarded to the Texas A&M University-Commerce Department of Counseling will benefit 500 local school districts.

In November, the Baxter Trust awarded the funds to Professor Chris Simpson and Interim Department Head Steve Armstrong for the creation of a procedure manual for dealing with non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI).

"A hot topic right now amongst school administrators is kids who are self-harming. Cutting themselves or otherwise self-mutilating themselves in some way," Simpson said. "It causes a bit of a panic in school settings so there's a need to help people that work in school communities to better understand and conceptualize what's going on with a child or teenager who's doing this."

Upon completion of the procedure manual, which could take about a year, Simpson plans to tour the region and present this information to school counselors.

Simpson says, "There's a lot of material out there with self -injury and how to treat self-injurers for counselors and psychologists but there's really not a lot of material just on how to think about this issue."

Based in Houston, the Baxter Trust provides funding for mental health and child services.

"In many cases people, not just children but people who perform self-injury on themselves often are not trying to commit suicide they're actually trying to manage negative affect or feelings that are intolerable to them."