National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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Research that saves lives

Blog posted by: Cathryn Rodway, Programme Manager, NCISH, 01 March 2019.

Cathy Rodway, Programme Manager at the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH), tells us why it is important to support the review of self-harm services in local areas

Self-harm is estimated to be much more common than the current figure of 200,000 cases seen each year in emergency departments in England.

Reducing self-harm is a central part of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy because people who self-harm are more likely to die by suicide. National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) is supporting the reduction by 2021 of the suicide rates by 10%, as part of the government’s £25 million investment.

As a first step we have developed the Services for self-harm toolkit based on the NICE quality standard. Our toolkit covers the initial management of self-harm and the provision of longer-term support for children, young people and adults.

Health and care professionals can use the toolkit to assess the quality of care they provide against the management and prevention of self-harm guidance, using recent local audit data or equivalent evidence, to identify areas for improvement. Our research has shown that by implementing established guidelines and recommendations we can expect a reduction in suicides.

Other NCISH initiatives have included improvements in training to prevent self-harm, commitments to developing early intervention and support for children and young people who self-harm and implementing personalised safety plans.

We are confident that providers who audit their services against our toolkit could improve standards of care for people who self-harm, and this will save lives.


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