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Self-harm & Suicide

Self-harm can be described as wide range of behaviours that someone does to themselves in a deliberate and usually hidden way. In the vast majority of cases self-harm remains a secretive behaviour that can go on for a long time without being discovered. Many children and young people may struggle to express their feelings and will need a supportive response to assist them to explore their feelings and behaviour and the possible outcomes for them.

The following risk factors – particularly in combination – may make a young person vulnerable to self-harm.

Individual Factors:

  • Depression / anxiety / low mood;
  • Poor communication skills;
  • Low self-esteem;
  • Poor problem-solving skills;
  • Hopelessness;
  • Impulsivity;
  • Drug or alcohol misuse.

Family Factors:

  • Unreasonable expectations;
  • Neglect or abuse (physical, sexual or emotional);
  • Child being Looked After;
  • Poor parental relationships and arguments;
  • Depression, deliberate self-harm or suicide in the family.

Social Factors:

  • Difficulty in making relationships / loneliness;
  • Persistent bullying or peer rejection;
  • Easy availability of drugs, medication or other methods of self-harm;
  • Living in the borough’s more deprived areas.

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