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Int Nurs Rev. 2004 Dec;51(4):222-8.

Self-harm in young people: a perspective for mental health nursing care.

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1
School of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, UK. martin.anderson@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

AIMS:

This paper addresses the assessment and management of self-harm in young people by a nurse consultant-led self-harm service in the UK. The purpose of the paper is to present some of the theoretical perspectives of the service and how these have influenced current practice with this group of young people.

BACKGROUND:

Self-harm in young people continues to be a serious concern for health services globally. Rates of self-harm in teenagers in the UK are among the highest in Europe. The current literature offers information on the nature of self-harm and some evidence of specific interventions mainly from a 'psychiatric perspective'. This paper examines the development of a locally based nurse-led self-harm team involved in the care of this group of young people. A sociological view of children and young people is applied in examining the way society construes self-harm and the formation of the behaviour as a deviant act. Self-harm is considered in the context of transition through adolescence and the growth of self-identity.

CONCLUSION:

The locally based child and adolescent mental health service has drawn together the evolving nurse consultant role, mental health nursing and medical sociology. This integration of people and theory will enhance the services understanding of self-harm in young people. At an international level, there is a need to consider the sociological dimensions of self-harm in young people as a way forward for mental health nurses who are involved in working with this group of people.

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