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CLAHRC Oxford supported researchers were recently invited to present evidence to the ‘suicide and self-harm’ All-party Parliamentary Group (APPG). The group were surprised and impressed by the evidence presented and intend to forward it to the Minister for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt.

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All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups formed by MPs and Members of the House of Lords who share a common interest in a particular policy area or region.

The purpose of the of the APPG on suicide and self-harm is to raise awareness and encourage discussion and debate of all issues involved in suicide and self-harm prevention within parliament.

Since 2017, England's National Suicide Prevention Strategy has included self-harm as a key area.

The APPG invited Professor Keith Hawton from Oxford University's Department of Psychiatry to speak about his work looking at the demographic trends and costs of self-harm. Professor Hawton also presented the findings from recent CLAHRC Oxford supported work on the hospital costs of self-harm, published in the Lancet Psychiatry.

Self-harm by intentional poisoning or self-injury is a common reason for presentation to hospital, especially in young people. It is often repeated and carries a significant risk of future suicide. Yet, until this work, very little information had been available on the costs of hospital care for people who self-harm.

The study revealed that the average cost for each episode of self-harm was £809. Costs were higher for adolescents than adults. The study went on to emphasise the need for effective clinical services and prevention initiatives.

“The findings of this study highlight the need for high quality services for people who self-harm to provide effective medical care and to ensure that patients receive careful psychiatric assessment in order to plan suitable aftercare,” said Professor Hawton at the time of the reports publication. “The findings also underline the need for large-scale initiatives to prevent self-harm, such as school-based psychological well-being classes and other community programmes aimed at improving emotional health.”

The researchers estimated that total hospital costs to the NHS across England could amount to as much as £162 million each year.

The APPG “found the evidence astonishing” and stated their intention to forward it to the Minister for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt.

Madeleine Moon, MP for Bridgend and chair of the APPG, later tweeted: “Hosted important meeting last night on self-harm in England with Prof Keith Hawton & Prof Nav Kapur. Deeply worrying that there's been a rise in self-harm among young girls in particular. Govt must urgently improve prevention services.”

CLAHRC Oxford continues to support research aimed at understanding and improving the psychological well-being of adults and children. For example, our Early Intervention in Psychosis work and our depression care for people with cancer work.

One of our newest projects supports the evaluation of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. This project is looking at how two main changes in CAMHS services – working in schools and collaborating with third sector (charity) partners –  are impacting these services and the young people seen by them.

To find out more visit: https://www.clahrc-oxford.nihr.ac.uk/research/camhs-evaluation

Read more about the APPG on suicide and self-harm here: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/180131/suicide-and-self-harm-prevention.htm

 

Read more about Professor Keith Hawton and Dr Apostolos Tsiachristas’ research here: 

https://www.clahrc-oxford.nihr.ac.uk/news/new-study-on-health-service-costs-of-self-harm-emphasises-need-for-effective-clinical-services-and-prevention-initiatives