The Lived Experience of Self-Harm
Satveer Nijjar, Independent Trainer, Self Harm Awareness, Attention Seekers?
To better support how we can support individuals who present with self-harm, we need to listen to those who have experienced care – both the positives and negatives. Sometimes it is about going back to basics and remembering that it is often what is seen as a ‘small’ gesture that has the biggest positive impact. Knowing what to say and what to be mindful of can make a huge difference to the journey the patient goes through and potentially make it more likely for them to engage with support.
Full PowerPoint Presentation
The vital importance of early identification and intervention: How do we support our schools?
Kate Rufus, Self Injury Pathway Project, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Despite half of all mental health issues manifesting by the age of 14, only 8% of the entire NHS Mental Health Budget is spent on CAMHS. That works out as less than 1% of the NHS budget being spent on children and young people’s mental health services. Warwick University’s 2017 Milestone Project compared transition of care from CAMHS to AMHS for young people across different healthcare systems in Europe. Figures show that the number of specialist beds for young people (per 100,000) in the UK has us languishing at 18th in the EU League Table. Even worse, we are in 21st place for the number of psychiatrists (per 100,000) trained to work with children and young people.
Supporting Families of people who self-harm
Stephen Briggs, Psychotherapist and Professor of Social Work, University of East London
Evidence from research on parents experiences of their adolescents’ self-harm/suicidal behaviour shows wide ranging impacts including powerful emotional responses, shame guilt and stigma, changes in parental relationships and impacts on siblings. Though there is increasing evidence for the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions for young people who have self-harmed, there is less research relating to work with parents and family members. There is potentially a tension between approaches that emphasise reducing stigma, providing information, contact with other parents, and those that focus on the ‘double trauma’ (Buus et al 2013) of the impact of self-harm and suicidal behaviour on the family members. Drawing on practice-based research, this tension is at least partly resolved by taking a developmental focus. This perspective gives meaning to the self-harm episode and its consequences for all the family. The aim of professional interventions is thus to restore the processes that foster development in the individual and family relationships. This leads to consideration of the importance of reflective spaces that support the professional’s stance in working with young people and families.
"Self-harm is the most important indicator for subsequent completed suicide and repetition of self-harm/suicide attempts. Young people use different/multiple methods – some are more reckless than others. We have shown that self-harm by young people can not only have extensive effects on parents’ emotional states, but also on their mental health, relationships with partners, children, their parents and friends, and on work and finances”