Self-harm Matters HIT 2022-23

Co-directors Lucy Biddle, Becky Mars and Ben Borthwick look back at the HIT's achievements in the last year.

  • 1st April 2023

Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

Changing HIT name

Following feedback from public contributors with lived experience the HIT agreed to change its name from STITCH to Self-harm Matters to sensitively reflect and prioritise work that is supported by the HIT.

Securing funding to develop further resources

Good practice indicators to help healthcare professionals discuss online behaviour with young people were published this year with NIHR ARC West, which live on a new website.  University of Bristol student wellbeing services are piloting the guidance. Funding has been secured to develop further resources, which will involve working with young people to co-create training films for healthcare practitioners to host on the site.

Understanding self-harm using Bristol Self-Harm Surveillance Register data

The Bristol Self-harm Surveillance Register  has provided additional information on admissions and referral of patients who have moderately to severely self-harmed. In 2023/24, the HIT plans to explore how to support information gathering through the information systems, and support information gathering for those who present but who are not admitted or referred to mental health services.

The HIT was previously instrumental in establishing the Bristol Self-Harm Surveillance Register, which records instances of people presenting to A&E with self-harm. This data supports research into self-harm, and the HIT has helped secure resources to update the Register to the end of 2021.

Supporting healthcare professionals to manage self-harm patients

In 2021 the HIT prepared self-harm resources for GPs, which are now available on the REMEDY system. Preliminary evidence suggests that GPs now feel more confident to talk to patients about self-harm and know how to signpost people to appropriate support or self-management tools.

The HIT set up a reflective practice project with North Bristol NHS Trust to support staff on non-mental health wards at Southmead Hospital to feel confident working with patients who self-harm. Patients who self-harm now receive better care, from a staff group who are more cohesive and competent because of being involved with the project.

Addressing health inequalities

The HIT is exploring potentially unmet needs among ethnic minority communities, such as the Somali community. Training has been delivered to Caafi health, which provides community drop-in support in Inner City and East Bristol and the HIT is linking in with Inner City and East Locality Partnership: Project Zazi GP Link Coordinator project to improve access to under-served populations.

Funding enabled in 2022-23

Self-harm Matters HIT helped secure £94,000 in 2022-23 for research, improving outcomes and addressing health inequalities.