Information for the public
Information for children and young people who self-harm
Your treatment and care should be the same as that for adults set out in this information, but with a few differences as described below. You should be able to have all the treatments and care described previously in this information within mental health services for children and young people.
If you have self-harmed in the past and your family doctor thinks that you may self-harm again, you may be offered an appointment with mental health services for children and young people for an assessment. If you are very distressed and there is a great risk that you may harm yourself, you should be offered an appointment as soon as possible.
During the assessment, which may take place over several meetings, healthcare professionals will want to get to know you and find out more about your self-harming behaviour and any other difficulties so they can work out which treatment and what kind of support would best suit you. They will need to ask about your mental and physical health, and they may also ask you about your family and relationships with friends.
You may still receive care from mental health services for children and young people even after you turn 18, if this is in your best interests.
Decisions about your care if you are under 16
If you are under 16 and your healthcare team is sure that you understand what it means to have an assessment and any treatment that you are offered, you will be able to decide on your own whether to have the assessment and treatment. You can always involve your parents or another person with parental responsibility (someone who is responsible for looking after you) if you wish, and your healthcare team will encourage them to support you. If you decide to have the assessment or treatment, you will be asked to give 'informed consent' (see 'Your care').
If your healthcare team is not sure you understand what it means to have an assessment and treatment, one of your parents or a person with parental responsibility will be asked to give informed consent for you to have the assessment or treatment. In an emergency, if one of your parents or the person with parental responsibility for you cannot be contacted, healthcare professionals may give treatment immediately when it is in your best interests.