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Introduction to Understanding Self-Harm (1/2 Day PM)


Self-harm is a relatively common phenomenon, especially amongst young people. In most cases, self-harm begun in childhood or adolescence and has resolved by early adulthood. However, for some self-harm continues into adulthood and becomes a complex and problematic response to distress which is difficult for the person and their supporters to manage. This introductory ½ day course for support staff and managers will explore some common causes and functions of self-harm, the impact of our responses on self-harming people, how risk can be assessed and managed and will review a range of support approaches for assisting the self-harming person in a safe, professional and person-centred way.

· What is self-harm and what are the different forms it can take?
· Who is at risk of self-harm?
· Why do people self-harm?
· Is self-harm a psychiatric diagnosis?
· What is the relationship with other mental health problems?
· What is the cycle of self-harm?
· The importance of our responses to the self-harming person
· Brief review of treatment pathways, NICE guidelines and recommended therapies for self-harm
· Assessing risk in self-harm
· How can we tailor our support approach to meet the needs of the individual?
· What are the self-care options?
· What is 'contingency management' and might it help?
· What is validation and why is it important?
· What if the person wants to stop self-harming but is struggling to do so?
· What if the person is ambivalent about self-harm?
· What if the person doesn't want to stop or feels they cannot cope without self-harm?

The trainer will use a variety of learning methods including PowerPoint presentation, flipchart work, group discussions and small group work.

By the end of this ½ day course attendees should be able to:
· Define self-harm and the different forms it can take
· Identify causes, functions and risk factors for self-harm
· Identify treatment pathways for people who self-harm
· Describe how to tailor a support approach to the individual's particular needs

Frontline staff and managers who come into contact with clients who are at risk of or who have a history of self-harming behaviour and want to develop a better understanding of it.


Upon completion of the course, the delegates will receive a certificate of attendance.

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