Live project Live project


  Supporting Adolescents with Self-Harm: How to better help teens seeking support from A+E (Trigger Warning: Self-Harm, Suicide)

Project overview

Researchers from City, University of London and McPin want to help improve support for teens who go to A+E for self-harm and suicide.

They are working together on a project funded by the Kavli Trust: Supporting Adolescents with Self-Harm (SASH).

SASH is looking at a promising new style of assessment for young people who self-harm and seek support from A+E and crisis teams.

This new approach aims to put the young person’s voice at the centre by focusing on the young person’s hopes for the assessment, helping them build a preferred future and in creating a safety plan that focuses on their resources and strengths, using their own words.

The research team will evaluate this new assessment and aims to answer key questions to determine its effectiveness.

Project details

When a young person is having a mental health crisis and goes to A+E it is a crucial opportunity to intervene and provide them with meaningful support.

According to research, visits to A+E by adolescents for self-harm are related to repeat self-harm and suicide, with adolescents eight times more likely to die by suicide compared to those not presenting with self-harm.

Young people who go to A+E in a mental health crisis face many difficulties at a vulnerable time, including stigma, feeling unheard and not being provided with tailored and personalised support.

It is crucial that assessment approaches are tailored for those that they intend to help. This research offers a new approach to assessment which could ensure that young people feel safe, understood, supported, and treated with compassion when they seek support for self-harm from A+E and crisis teams.

The research team needs young people’s input throughout to make sure their work makes a positive difference to young people.

At McPin we’re responsible for ensuring the voices of young people with relevant lived experience shape the project. To do this, we have formed a Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG) who will meet during the project and advise on key aspects.

The YPAG will use their lived experience to advise on:

  • Making sense of the study findings
  • Reviewing written study documents and providing feedback on their relevance and accessibility
  • Recruitment across study sites and practitioners
  • Training sessions and resources for the practitioners
  • Co-producing creative resources and activities to ensure the findings of the project are heard (e.g. TikTok, videos, Instagram posts, other online content)

We have recruited eight young people aged 16-26 with lived experience of mental health problems e.g. self-harm or suicidal thoughts, and/or experience of accessing mental health services – A+E and/or crisis team care - for the YPAG.

The proposal for this research study was developed with young people with relevant lived experience.

For more information about the public involvement within this project, please email [email protected].

For more information on the project, visit the SASH study website.

Work with us

We are always excited to hear from others who want to collaborate on mental health research. From delivering peer research to helping you with public involvement strategies and providing training, get in touch to chat.