Person-centred care

Person-centred care

This guideline offers best practice advice on the care of adults, children and young people who self-harm.

Treatment and care should take into account service users' needs and preferences. People who self-harm should have the opportunity to make informed decisions about their care and treatment, in partnership with health and social care professionals. If service users do not have the capacity to make decisions, health and social care professionals should follow the guidance in the code of practice that accompanies the Mental Capacity Act. In Wales, healthcare professionals should follow advice on consent from the Welsh Government.

If the service user is under 16, health and social care professionals should follow the guidelines in Seeking consent: working with children.

Good communication between health and social care professionals and service users is essential. It should be supported by evidence-based written information tailored to the service user's needs. Treatment and care, and the information service users are given about it, should be culturally appropriate. It should also be accessible to people with additional needs such as physical, sensory or learning disabilities, and to people who do not speak or read English.

If the service user agrees, families, carers and significant others[1] should have the opportunity to be involved in decisions about treatment and care. Families, carers and significant others should also be given the information and support they need.

Care of young people in transition between paediatric and adult services should be planned and managed according to the best practice guidance described in Transition: getting it right for young people.

Adult and paediatric healthcare teams should work jointly to provide assessment and services to young people who self-harm. Management should be reviewed throughout the transition process, and there should be clarity about who is the lead clinician to ensure continuity of care.



[1] 'Significant other' refers not just to a partner but also to friends and any person the service user considers to be important to them.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)