Reducing Self Harm on Highfield

Objectives and concerns


The team at Highfield were concerned about levels of self-harm by ligature and other methods at Highfield.

The aim of 40 is in relation to the average number of incidents seen per month between Jan and Oct 2019 (64.1 per month, resulting in a reduction of approximately 1/3).

Research on ligatures found that higher relative risk rates for children on the autism spectrum (RR of 3.3), emotional dysregulation (RR of 2.9) or with depression (RR of 1.7). There could be similar trends for other forms of self-harm. Given this, the group would like to use quality improvement methodologies to reduce the incidence of self-harm.


Reduce the total number of self-harm incidents among young people at Highfield to below 40 incidents each month by 17 June 2020.

About this project

Change Ideas & PDSA Cycles

Introduce Positive Engagement Worker (PEW) role is to provide additional positive interactions/activities to young people who are not engaging in self harming behaviours

Introduce ASD pathway for young people whilst they are on the ward.

Provide “Managing Emotions for Parents”, a DBT-informed skills group for parents of young people on the ward

Implement skills drop-in session for young people over the weekend (for those on the ward at that time). 


Although this project was closed during the pandemic the team at Highfield continue their work on reducing self harm.

Non-urgent advice: Further information

Local project leads

  • Jo Duthie, Acting Clinical Lead Nurse
  • Sarah Firth, Modern Matron

QI project support

  • Tony Perry, Improvement Lead
  • Hayley Trueman, Improvement Lead

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Page last reviewed: 23 July, 2021