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Self-harm and suicidal behaviour 

Self-harm and suicidal behaviour
Chapter:
Self-harm and suicidal behaviour
Author(s):

Patrick Callaghan

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199561414.003.0003
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date: 22 February 2020

Introduction 36

Assessment and risk in suicide and self-harm 38

Factors that may protect people from suicide 40

Management of suicide risk 41

Assessing risk in special settings 42

Interpersonal skills 46

Self-harm is the term often used to refer to a range of behaviours. This usually encapsulates actions involving a form of self-injury, self-mutilation, or overdose. The act may or may not be motivated by suicidal intention. Intent can only be properly established by interviewing the service user and understanding their motivations. People who present with self-harm may clearly not wish to end their own life, but people who are suicidal may have a clear intent to take their own life. It is important to recognize ‘self-harm’ as a very individual act involving the experience of stress, emotional pain, and personal crisis. This understanding should be at the centre of clinical practice and at the centre of the work being negotiated and planned. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has produced guidelines for the management and care of people who self-harm within primary and secondary care. The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention in England provides details on the key goals in suicide prevention, including work with people who have self-harmed and who have attempted suicide (see ...

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