Recommendation ID
Observational study exploring different harm-reduction approaches:- What are the different approaches to harm reduction following self-harm in NHS settings?
A study should be carried out to investigate the different approaches to harm reduction following self-harm currently in use in NHS settings. This could use survey methodology with all, or a selected sample of, mental health service providers. Audit data should be used to provide a preliminary evaluation of potential utility. Promising interventions might be tested in small-scale pilot randomised controlled trials, which use frequency and severity of self-harm, and standard measures of distress and psychological symptoms, as outcome measures. Other outcomes such as quality of life, service users' experience and adverse events should be included.
Any explanatory notes
(if applicable)
Why this is important:- Although cessation of the behaviour remains the treatment goal for many professionals providing care to people who self-harm, this may not be realistic or possible in the short term for some individuals. An alternative strategy for services is to reduce the severity and frequency of selfharm. Anecdotally, a variety of approaches to harm reduction are used in health service settings – for example, minimising the physical harm associated with episodes or suggesting alternatives to self-harming behaviours. However, the extent to which such management strategies are used across services is uncertain, as is their effectiveness.

Source guidance details

Comes from guidance
Self-harm in over 8s: long-term management
Date issued
November 2011

Other details

Is this a recommendation for the use of a technology only in the context of research? No  
Is it a recommendation that suggests collection of data or the establishment of a register?   No