Experiences of Self-harm Services

Download (PDF 2.92MB)

Summary of report content

Healthwatch Nottingham and Nottinghamshire identified the mental health of young people as a top priority in 2019/2020. They decided to research self-harm as there was a gap in knowledge – both for young people and people over 25.  They undertook a survey and in depth interviews.  In total they spoke to 1,709 people.

Friends, relatives (including parents) and partners are the most commonly chosen initial source of support for self-harm by young people, whereas for adults over 25, the most common source is the GP/nurse.

Although the internet was identified as a place they would turn to for support with self-harm by around a quarter  of young people and almost 40% of over 25s, it was not commonly where people actually turned for help for themselves or for someone they knew, perhaps suggesting that people prefer to speak to someone in person.

A small proportion of young people did not know where to go for help or would do nothing. Likewise, a proportion did not get support, and kept the fact of self harming to themselves. This is of concern, since these young people are potentially vulnerable and unsupported.

Young people experienced difficulties in finding and accessing support, with long waits to be seen in some services and even when accessed, considerable variation in the effectiveness of that support.

When using support services for self-harm, young people are clear that the most important features, of a service that makes a difference to them, are having someone to talk to, being listened to and not feeling so alone.

Stigma around self-harm is still a major problem for both young people and adults over 25, affecting how they feel, and if or how they access support for self-harm.

The report sets out what young people with experience of self harm need from a support service and approaches that they found unhelpful.

The report includes recommendations on information, training and service provision.

Would you like to look at:

General details

Report title 
Experiences of Self-harm Services
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Nottingham City
Healthwatch Nottinghamshire
Date of publication 
Monday, 30 November, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Holistic support
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Staff training
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
Structured interview
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Mental health services 
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of long term conditions 
Mental health condition

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
1-15 years
16-17 years
18-24 years
25-64 years
Sexual orientation 
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.