Self-harm should not remain in the shadows - experts urge people to get help

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27 Feb 2014

World Self-Injury Awareness Day is on Saturday 1 March and one of the UK’s leading experts in self-harm and suicide is joining the call to try and raise awareness of the issue.

Professor Nav Kapur

Professor Nav Kapur works for Manchester Mental Health Social Care Trust and leads research at The University of Manchester’s Centre for Suicide Prevention in the city. 

“Self-harm is a really important problem and we know that people who hurt themselves also have a higher risk of suicide.  Unfortunately it’s an issue that often remains hidden.  It’s vitally important that people get the help they need and quickly,” he said. “That’s why we are carrying out research studies which aim to improve care and treatment for those who self-harm, not only here in Manchester but across the country.”

Rates of self-harm (including self-poisoning and other self-injury) remain high in Manchester and may be increasing.  Although nationally, there was a reduction in suicide rates in 2012, according to the latest data issued by the Office of National Statistics, the suicide rate was highest in the North West at 12.4 deaths per 100,000 population.  

“So it’s clear that this is a concern that we need to keep addressing,” added Professor Kapur. 

The University’s Centre for Suicide Prevention and the Trust have been leading on a number of studies to tackle the problem. 

“Our recent work showed that probably just over half of people in England get a full assessment by a mental health professional when they arrive at hospital following self-harm.  This is despite national guidance which says that all people should be assessed.  It’s important that we work hard to improve care for people who self-harm, particularly as some of our other work suggests that simply getting an assessment may reduce the chances of someone repeating self-harm by as much as 40%.” 

If you or someone you care about is feeling suicidal then help is available. You can contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47, or the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. Both services are available 24 hours-a-day.

ENDS

Notes for editors

For more information or to arrange an interview with Professor Kapur, please contact Greg Holmes on 0161 882 1124 or e-mail: greg.holmes@mhsc.nhs.uk

Or alternatively: Alison Barbuti on 0161 275 8383 or e-mail alison.barbuti@manchester.ac.uk
 
• Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust provides a wide spectrum of mental health, physical health and wellbeing services 
• It is one of only five combined mental health and social care Trusts in England and Wales
• The Trust serves an estimated population of 503,000 people, operating with the Manchester City Council boundaries
• We host a number of national leaders in their field, including National Clinical Director for Dementia Professor Alistair Burns, Professor Nav Kapur, who heads suicide research at the University of Manchester and has led national guidelines, and Professor Louis Appleby, National Director for Health and Criminal Justice.  The Trust also has a strong research partnership with Professor Gillian Haddock who holds an Honorary clinical contract with the Trust and leads the Division of Clinical Psychology at the University of Manchester where the Suicide Research Group are developing and testing new psychological ‘talking treatments’ to prevent suicide. 
• More information about the Trust is available at www.mhsc.nhs.uk.    
• World Self-Injury Awareness Day 2014 is driven by the LifeSigns organisation: http://www.lifesigns.org.uk/siad/ 
• The Office of National Statistics released the latest UK suicide figures on 18/02/14 and can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health4/suicides-in-the-united-kingdom/2012/index.html 
• The Centre for Suicide Prevention is a leading UK centre for research into suicide behaviour, based at The University of Manchester: http://www.bbmh.manchester.ac.uk/cmhr/research/centreforsuicideprevention/ 
• The University of Manchester, a member of the Russell Group, is one of the largest and most popular universities in the UK. It has 20 academic schools and hundreds of specialist research groups undertaking pioneering multi-disciplinary teaching and research of worldwide significance. According to the results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, The University of Manchester is one of the country’s major research institutions, rated third in the UK in terms of ‘research power’. The University has an annual income of £807 million and is ranked 40th in the world and fifth in the UK for the quality of its teaching and impact of its research

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