Self-harm training for health workers is inadequate

Healthcare professionals are not receiving the appropriate training and support they need to help people who self-harm, research suggests.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, said many self-harm patients continue to be dissatisfied with the care they receive and may experience ‘unhelpful attitudes’ from health professionals.

The researchers suggested that lack of professional education on self-harm care was the main cause of negative attitudes.

The paper said: ‘On the plus side, attitudes were mainly positive when staff were knowledgeable about self-harm and training and experience clearly did make a difference.'

But the researchers also warned that current squeezes on the DoH budget means it is ‘unlikely’ that training for self-harm care will be made mandatory, despite a recommendation by NICE in 2004 for this to happen.

The report concluded: ‘This has to be addressed to ensure that good quality care for service users is being provided to help individuals manage their self-harm.’

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