Self-harm Matters HIT

Supporting access to services for those who self-harm, increasing awareness of some of the underlying reasons that can cause self-harm and reducing presentation to A&E departments.

The Self-harm Matters HIT brings together researchers, clinicians, managers and colleagues with an interest in self-harm. The HIT aims to support access to services for those who self-harm, increase awareness of some of the underlying reasons that can cause self-harm and reduce presentation to A&E departments through more tailored pathways that support access to mental health services within the community.

The HIT has prioritised those between the age of 11 – 25 years, recognising that this age group in particular have a higher incidence of self harm within Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG), and also those from ethnically diverse populations that often do not access support from either a GP or community services.

There are some psychological treatments which show promise for self harm, but more research is needed  (see Psychosocial interventions for self‐harm in adults – Witt, KG – 2021 | Cochrane Library; Interventions for self‐harm in children and adolescents – Witt, KG – 2021 | Cochrane Library) . NICE guidance (2022) suggests that following an episode of self-harm, four to 10 sessions of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)-based therapy, tailored for people who self-harm, should be offered as soon as possible. Within BNSSG, Self Injury Support provides a peer-led service run by and for people with an experience of self-harm.


The HIT meets quarterly. It has several aims:

  1. Explore and understand the self-harm pathways within BNSSG and share opportunities to embed evidence into care delivery.
  2. Act as topic expert group that can support research opportunities and raise awareness of research gaps and datasets that can support service improvement.
  3. Support awareness-raising of matters that affect those who suffer from self-harm.
  4. Facilitate opportunities to better understand – through data – and address the journey of those who self-harm, and resolve the cycle of recurrent admissions to A&E and progression to suicide, including for vulnerable groups.
  5. Collaborate effectively with different partners and agencies through the HIT.
  6. Support and acknowledge the importance of public contributors who share their insights with the HIT, through working in a trauma-informed way.