2 Notes on the scope of the guidance

2 Notes on the scope of the guidance

All NICE guidelines are developed in accordance with a scope document that defines what the guideline will and will not cover. The scope of this guideline was established at the start of the development of this guideline, following a period of consultation.

This guideline is relevant to people aged 8 years and older who have carried out acts of self-harm, regardless of whether accompanied by mental illness, and to all healthcare professionals involved in the help, treatment and care of people who self-harm, and their carers. The guideline makes recommendations that cover the first 48 hours following an act of self-harm, but does not address the longer-term psychiatric care of people who self-harm. The professional groups that this guideline will be relevant to include the following.

  • Professional groups who are involved in the care and treatment of people who have self-harmed, including emergency department staff, paramedical and ambulance staff, general practitioners, counsellors, paediatricians, paediatric nurses, psychiatrists, prison health staff, clinical psychologists, mental health nurses, community psychiatric nurses, social workers, practice nurses and others.

  • Professionals in other health and non-health sectors who may have direct contact with, or are involved in the provision of health and other public services for, people who have self-harmed. These may include occupational therapists, art therapists, pharmacists, and the police and professionals who work in the criminal justice and education sectors.

  • Those with responsibility for planning services for people who self-harm and their carers, including directors of public health, NHS trust managers and managers in primary care trusts.

The guideline will cover the acute care of self-harm in people with learning disabilities, but not repetitive self-injurious behaviour, such as head banging.