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Online Training

Addressing Non-Suicidal Self Injury within the Context of Substance Use Disorder Treatment

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Current research indicates that non-suicidal self-injury occurs often among individuals in treatment for a substance use disorder. In one study, 30% of those in treatment reported a history of self-harm, with 50% of these individuals reporting the use of self-harm behavior within the past year (Gratz & Tull, 2010). Yet, many substance use disorder programs and individual treatment professionals do not feel confident in addressing such behavior when it occurs or as part of treatment planning. In this thirty minute training we will lay out the differences between NSSI and suicidal behaviors, how to address each appropriately, and how to support individuals in treatment reduce their use of such behavior.


At the end of this module participant will be able to:

  1. Describe the differences between suicidal and NSSI behaviors.
  2. List at least three reasons why individuals may use NSSI to cope.
  3. Describe at least three interventions used to address and reduce NSSI behavior.


  1. Introduction
  2. Defining Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI)
  3. Rates of NSSI in substance use disorder treatment
  4. Suicide or NSSI. What’s the difference?
  5. Assessment strategies
  6. Functions of NSSI behavior
  7. Evidence based intervention strategies
  8. Incorporating NSSI into treatment planning
  9. Resources
  10. Summary, Questions, Evaluation

If you have any questions or difficulty accessing the training, contact David Stanley at

These training modules have been developed by the Institute for Health & Recovery with funding provided by Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services.

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