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In England and Wales there are at least 200,000 general hospital presentations for self-harm (intentional self-poisoning or self-injury) per year. Self-harm occurs in relation to a wide range of personal problems, emotional turmoil and psychiatric disorders. It carries a significant risk of subsequent suicide and has major impacts on family members and friends. It also places pressure on busy emergency departments, wards and clinicians, as well as having major financial costs for the NHS.

The aim of this programme of research is to conduct a series of related studies on the epidemiology, causes, clinical management, outcome and prevention of self-harm. Through a multicentre collaboration the research provides representative and reliable data on self-harm in England. It contributes to the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England (2002, 2012) and prevention and service initiative, including NICE guidance on self-harm (National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health 2004, 2011.

Oxford - Suicide GrpManchester - Suicide GrpDerby - Suicide Grp

The research is a collaboration between the University of Oxford (Principal Investigator Professor Keith Hawton), the University of Manchester (Lead, Professor Nav Kapur), and Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (Lead, Mr Keith Waters). Data for the study are collected in these three centres in five general hospitals, one in Oxford, three in Manchester and one in Derby. Over 10 collaborating researchers are part of the research group. The project also has input from service users.

The programme of research includes 4 broad areas:

  • Epidemiology and trends in self-harm.
  • Clinical management of self-harm.
  • Outcome of self-harm, including repetition and mortality.
  • Pharmaco-epidemiology, including drug toxicology and impacts of changes in prescribing legislation and trends.

We do not provide a treatment service or advice for those in crisis. If you are in crisis or feeling suicidal we urge you to seek help from your general practitioner, through a telephone helpline service such as Samaritans (UK telephone number 116  123), or by discussing your problems with a friend or colleague. Befrienders Worldwide offers a comprehensive directory of crisis helplines worldwide. We are also not able to discuss individual cases.