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Theme: Person-Centred Care
Self-harm accounts for an estimated 140,000 admissions to Accident & Emergency departments in England and Wales every year. Rates of self-harm have been rising steadily since the late 1960s, particularly within the 15-24 age group. Those who repeatedly self-harm are at high risk of eventual suicide. Establishing a service that may decrease the frequency with which individuals self-harm may ultimately save lives, as well as offering vulnerable people much-needed support.
Research has shown that maintaining contact with those that self-harm (through letters, postcards, crisis cards and telephone calls) has some potential to reduce repetition. A previous Peninsula Medical School study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research's Research for Patient Benefit programme, explored the potential of sending supportive text messages to adults who engage in repeated self-harm. This method may prove invaluable for young people, who report that they are unlikely to seek professional help either before or after an episode of self-harm.
TeenTEXT is designed for use with children and adolescents aged 12-18 who self-harm, together with parents, carers and clinicians working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
The feasibility study, funded by the BUPA Foundation is underway and is scheduled to complete in September 2014.