A team of academics and clinicians at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Suicide Research and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust have collaborated to produce a guide which was ‘Highly Commended’ at the recent BMA Patient Information Awards.

The guide can be downloaded for free here.

Professor Keith Hawton, Director of the Centre for Suicide Research said:

“I am delighted that the hard work of our team has resulted in this resource for parents and carers and that the BMA has highly commended it as a resource. We hope that the Guide will help young people and their families understand self-harm better and feel more able to cope with it.”

Dr Anne Ferrey, who led on the guide, explains how the project evolved:

“We spoke to nearly 40 parents and carers of young people who self-harmed. Overwhelmingly, they mentioned feeling alone and wishing that they had more knowledge about self-harm, its causes and its impact on the family. Parents mentioned that they would like to have a source of information from a trustworthy source that spoke about topics that were important to them, including practical topics such as managing wounds and scars, and advice on how to best support their child who is self-harming. We developed Coping with Self-harm to fill this gap for parents and families.

“We based the Guide on what parents told us they wished they had known after they discovered that their child had self-harmed. We also provided information about other resources, such as helplines, clinical agencies and a book on the topic. As well as information, the Guide contains quotes from other parents whose children have also self-harmed. We hope this will show parents that they are not alone, and demonstrate some strategies that have helped other families.

“We were delighted to hear that the BMA had “highly commended” the resource, as the Patient Awards highlight the very best in patient resources. We hope that this will help parents of young people who self-harm find and use the Guide, and that they will feel less alone and better able to cope.”