Support for improving community-based care for self-harm

The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) is working alongside experts from the Manchester Self-Harm Project and the Patient Safety Translational Research Centre to support 12 areas in England to improve community-based services and care for people who self-harm.

This is part of a national programme of transformation funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement linked to establishing new and integrated models of primary and community mental health care across England.  These new models will provide improved care for adults and older adults who self-harm in the community, as laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

This work is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), with funding from NHS England and NHS Improvement.

We will support teams in participating areas by:

  • providing broad expert knowledge of current self-harm data and research;
  • providing guidance on national guidelines and recommendations for the care of people who self-harm;
  • advising on methods of data collection to monitor and evaluate the impact of service changes for people who self-harm;
  • developing an online resource to gather useful information in an easily accessible format.

Further project information


We have co-created infographics to reflect the main themes of community self-harm interventions. These infographics are intended to promote and share learning; they summarise the projects’ aims, project details, and outcome measures.

Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System – Brief psychological intervention

Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System – Brief psychological intervention

North West London training programme

North West London training programme

Somerset STP – Digital resources

Somerset STP – Digital resources

Reference documents

We have developed the data dictionary (PDF) to provide a selection of process measures for any area implementing a self-harm support intervention, to measure change as they test new ideas within their projects.

Resources: evidence and guidance around self-harm

The following sections contain links to information on different aspects of care for people who self-harm, such as national clinical guidelines, peer reviewed journal publications, and commissioned reports.

We will add additional resources to this list as this project moves forward.

Clinical guidelines on care for people who self-harm

There is current guidance and research available that attempts to draw together evidence for the best ways to provide care for people who self-harm.

NICE has produced clinical guidance on both the short- and long-term management of self-harm, as well as quality standards for the care of people who self-harm:

A new updated guideline is also currently in development and due for publication in 2022:

NCISH has also produced a self-harm toolkit:

Guidance on psychological and medical treatment for people who self-harm

The following works present information on the effectiveness of psychological and medical treatments for people who self-harm (including adults, children and adolescents):

Promoting awareness of self-harm

People who self-harm often report poor staff attitudes when they seek help, which may discourage people from seeking help in the future during times of crisis.

Guidance on competencies for healthcare and other staff working with people who self-harm. The competencies are for working with children and young people (from 8 years upwards), adults and older adults (from 18 years upwards), and the public (community and public health):

Staff training for self-harm

There are a number of free and paid training courses that might be helpful in raising awareness of self-harm among staff, dispelling myths and misconceptions about people who self-harm and promote improved care.

Free online training on the management and care of people who self-harm who attend the emergency department, with background information on self-harm and examples of patient experiences of care:

 Training packages

  • STORM provides bespoke training packages for suicide prevention and self-harm mitigation.
  •  Harmless provides support, information, and training about self-harm to people who self-harm, their friends, families and professionals, promoting health and recovery by increasing awareness and skill in intervention.

Although not self-harm specific, some organisations provide training courses focused on suicide prevention which include elements that may also be relevant to self-harm.

Additional resources

Brochures and pamphlets:

Other types of resources:

People working on the project

We would like to thank all the staff and expert advisors who are working with us on this project.

Expert Reference Panel

We would like to particularly thank our Expert Reference Panel who have helped guide the development and implementation of this project.  They are:

  • Mette Isaksen – Samaritans, Lead for self-harm research
  • Emily Cannon – Quality Improvement Coach, National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health
  • Raili Frost – Senior project manager, NHS England
  • Karen Lascelles – Nurse Consultant Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Caroline Harroe – CEO Harmless
  • Ketan Sonigra – Clinical lead intensive case management, Principal Forensic Psychologist, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLAM)
  • Faraz Mughal – Academic GP, NIHR Doctoral Fellow, Keel University
  • Declan Meehan – Clinical/operational Manager, Greater Manchester Mental Health Foundation Trust
  • Amanda Thompsell – Consultant older age psychiatrist, Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Javed Rehman – Expert by experience, MS4MH-R
  • Fiona Naylor – Expert by experience, MS4MH-R
  • Stephen Barlow – Expert by experience, MS4MH-R
  • Liz Monaghan – Expert by experience, MS4MH-R
Core Staff

Our core staff work at the University of Manchester in the Centre for Mental Health and Safety.  They are: