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A collaborative programme of research to support the National Suicide Prevention Strategy including qualitative research with parents of young people who have self-harmed, an analysis of drug toxicity and resources for parents.

In partnership with colleagues at the universities of Bristol and Manchester, we have been awarded a National Institute for Health Research Programme Grant to conduct a series of studies to contribute to health service initiatives to prevent suicide.

Our contributions include an analysis of the relative toxicity of drugs commonly used for self-harm and suicide, and a qualitative interview study with parents and carers of young people who self-harm.The latter has resulted in the publication of the following papers:


Ferrey, A.E., Hughes, N.D, Simkin, S., Locock, L., Stewart, A., Kapur, N., Gunnell, D. & Hawton, K., (2016) The impact of self-harm by young people on parents and families: A qualitative study. BMJOpen 2016;6:e009631.doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009631

Hughes, N.D.; Locock, L.; Simkin, S.;  Stewart, A.; Ferrey, A. E.; Gunnell, D.; Kapur, N. & Hawton, K. (2015). Making sense of an unknown terrain: How parents understand self-harm in young people. Qualitative Health Research.  doi:10.1177/1049732315603032

Ferrey, A. E., Hughes, N. D., Simkin, S., Locock, L., Stewart, A., Kapur, N. Gunnell, D. & Hawton, K. (2016). Changes in parenting strategies after a young person’s self-harm: A qualitative study. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 10(20), 1-8.  DOI: 10.1186/s13034-016-0110-y

Stewart, A., Hughes, N., Simkin, S., Locock, L., Ferrey, A., Kapur, N., Gunnell, D & Hawton, K. (2016). Navigating an unfamiliar world: How parents of young people who self-harm experience support and treatment. Child and Adolescent Mental Health. DOI: 10.1111/camh.12205


We collaborated with to develop a website providing information about the experiences of parents of young people who have self-harmed. We will also be developing several short resources on the topic of self-harm and parent experiences which will be available for download.