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Background: Nursing professionals are an occupational group at increased risk of suicide, but little is known about self-harm in this population. Aims: To investigate the characteristics of nurses and midwives who present to hospital following self-harm. Method: We used data from the Oxford Monitoring System for Self-Harm to identify nurses and midwives who presented to the general hospital in Oxford during 2010-2020 following an episode of self-harm and received a psychosocial assessment. Results: During the eleven-year study period, 107 presentations of self-harm involving 81 nurses and midwives were identified. Self-poisoning was the most common self-harm method (71.6%), with antidepressants and paracetamol most frequently involved. Many had consumed alcohol before (43.8%) or during (25.3%) the self-harm act. Some individuals had high or very high suicide intent scores (22/70, 31.4%). Common problems preceding self-harm included problems with a partner (46.9%), psychiatric disorder (29.6%), and problems with employment (27.2%), family (24.7%), and alcohol (23.5%). A range of aftercare options were offered following presentation. Limitations: This study was limited to data from a single hospital. Conclusion: Prevention and management of self-harm within this occupational group requires preventative strategies and availability of interventions addressing the range of factors that may contribute to self-harm, especially relationship problems, psychiatric disorders, employment problems, and alcohol misuse.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





128 - 135


aftercare, methods, nurses, problems, self-harm, Humans, Pregnancy, Female, Suicide, Attempted, Midwifery, Self-Injurious Behavior, Mental Disorders, Hospitals, General