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Karen Cleaver
British Journal of Nursing, Vol. 16, Iss. 3, 08 Feb 2007, pp 148 - 152

Deliberate self-harm is recognized as a serious public health issue in young people. There is evidence that young people who self-harm are more likely to repeat selfharm, and this in turn increases their risk of completed suicide. Prevalence studies have identified that the rate of self-harm among young people is on the increase, information largely based on data arising from review and analysis of hospital attendances. However, community-based studies indicate that the prevalence is much higher, with those seen in emergency departments representing the ‘tip of the iceberg’ (Hawton and Rodham, 2006). Young people’s motives for self-harm and the implications of this for their initial assessment in emergency departments are discussed, as are research findings which indicate that nurses can have negative attitudes towards patients who self-harm. The article considers the implications of this for young people and identifies areas for future research.

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