• Alexander James

NICE Guidelines Re-examine Self-Harm Care

More people could take responsibility for the care of those who self-harm, including workers in the health and social care system.


The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued draft guidelines that state it should not only be the job of mental health staff to identify and support those who harm themselves. Instead, this should be shared with schools, prisons, hospitals, social care workers and paramedics.


Dr Paul Chrisp, director at the centre for guidelines at NICE, said: “Self-harm is a growing problem and should be everyone’s business to tackle – not just those working in the mental health sector.”


He states that this will help people who self-harm “get the support and treatment they need”.


According to the guidelines, a comprehensive psychosocial assessment should be organised after an episode of self-harm is recognised. While this should be carried out by a specialist mental health professional, the non-specialists can provide the initial care and referral.


Professor Nav Kapur, topic advisor for the self-harm guideline and professor of psychiatry and population health at the University of Manchester, noted: “Self-harm can occur at any age and present to any setting.”


Indeed, 7.3 per cent of girls and 3.6 per cent of boys between 11 and 16 have self-harmed or attempted suicide, rising to 21.5 per cent for girls and 9.7 per cent for boys aged 17 to 19 years old.


Therefore, NICE believes having teachers look out for signs of self-harming will allow them to provide support at the earliest opportunity for those they think need it.


According to findings published by Young Minds, 52.7 per cent of young women with a mental health disorder has had issues with self-harming or has attempted suicide. However, the figures could be much higher than this, as without support from other care faculties, it is currently a problem that can go under the radar.


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