This was a national quality improvement programme which brought
together professionals from emergency departments, acute medical,
mental health and ambulance services to review and improve the
service they provided to people who self-harm.
Self-harm is one of the top five causes of
acute medical admission in the UK (68,716 admissions in
The quality of care for those who self-harm
depends on the quality of joint working between emergency
departments and mental health service and this currently varies
across the UK.
Many people who attend an emergency department
as a result of self-harm find the experience unpleasant.
This finding greatly influenced the recently
published NICE guidelines which concluded that improving staff
knowledge and attitudes is the key to better services and reduction
in the substantial morbidity and mortality associated with
NICE guideline on
Our best practice guideline around self-harm
incorporates the NICE guidance and includes other standards and
current legislation from the Royal College of
Psychiatrists, Faculty of Accident and Emergency Medicine, and
The Department of Health.
Where appropriate, the standards are mapped to
the Healthcare Commission’s ‘Standards for Better Health’, allowing
services to demonstrate compliance against these.
Download a copy of manual of standards:
Better Services for
People who Self-Harm – Quality Standards for Health Care
The programme was being partly funded by the
an independent charity that aims to improve health and the quality
of healthcare for the people of the UK.
This was one of several programmes that form
the Health Foundation’s ’Engaging with Quality’ initiative, which
aims to address the gap between ‘current’ and ‘best’ practice
within healthcare settings.
The Royal College of Psychiatrist’s Centre for
Quality Improvement worked in collaboration with the following
partners who represent key professionals in the care of people who
- The British Association for Emergency Medicine and the College
of Emergency Medicine
- The Royal College of Nursing
- The Royal College of Physicians
- The NICE National Collaborating Centre for
The programme was also working with national
self-harm and service user support groups. A national service user
advisor is a member of the Central Project Team.
Wave 1 Member's Area
Wave 2 Member's Area
Wave 3 Member's Area
Wave 1 publications:
Wave 2 publications:
Wave 3 publications:
Service User Information
Change Interventions and Training Materials
The following interventions had been provided by the Central
Project team to help members bring about positive changes in the
quality of care they provided as well as educating staff so that
they are better equipped to work with people who self-harm.
Please feel free to print off and circulate
any of the following documents for use within your service.
*A special thanks to
the late Helen Blackwell, our Project Worker/Service User
Adviser and friend who was key to this project.*