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Self-harm in young people is a large and increasing problem in the UK, with an estimated 10-15% of young people self-harming at some point during adolescence. However, there has been relatively little focus on the experience of parents whose children self-harm. Discovery of a son or daughter's self-harm can be a devastating experience for parents. They often feel alone and isolated, and may struggle to find help and information.

We have undertaken a series of qualitative papers looking at parents' experiences after the discovery of a child's self-harm. These have explored parents' experiences around making sense of self-harm, the impact on the family, and how parenting itself may change after parents become aware of the child's self-harm.

We have also developed a freely downloadable resource for parents which incorporates some of the important points from this research as well as information on managing injuries, supporting the child and seeking help.



Papers arising from this research (Please click on the link to see paper):

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

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 6(1), 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: