Our next steps on understanding self-harm and strengthening support in Scotland.
In October 2020, we published our report Hidden Too Long: uncovering self-harm in Scotland, which explored self-harm and support both from the perspectives of people with lived experience and stakeholders working across frontline and community services.
This work highlighted the urgent need for a new national policy approach to improve understanding of self-harm and strengthen support for individuals, families and communities affected by this often hidden public health issue.
Our report also uncovered some thorny questions that any future policy approach to self-harm would need to consider to ensure responses effectively reduce stigma, encourage open conversation and support wellbeing.
In the second phase of our engagement work, we sought to explore these questions in greater detail and work with others to co-produce recommendations for a renewed national policy approach to self-harm. We focused on the following broad questions:
- Definition: How is self-harm defined, who gets to define it, and what are the implications of a definition for policy and services?
- Awareness and discussion: What are the risks and opportunities associated with increasing public awareness and open discussion of self-harm? How can policy and services respond to these?
- Harm prevention and harm reduction: What are the risks and opportunities involved in harm reduction and harm prevention approaches to self-harm? How can policy and services respond to these?
We explored these questions in greater detail through a ‘digital gathering’ that brought together a wide range of stakeholders from across national and local government, health, emergency, statutory and community services, the third sector, and people with lived experience of self-harm.
To support our digital gathering, we developed a series of podcasts featuring contributions from a range of voices working across policy, research, health and community services, and people with lived experience of self-harm. These podcasts were shared with participants in advance of our online workshops to help frame their discussions.
This isn’t a problem that exists for no reason, it exists because people are dealing with something and that something isn’t being addressed
We would like to thank everyone who supported this work:
- Our podcast contributors and digital gathering participants for sharing their insight and expertise so generously
- Media Co-op for producing our podcasts and facilitating our Digital Gathering sessions
- The Scottish Government for funding our work on self-harm