By Their Own Young Hand: Deliberate Self-Harm and Suicidal Ideas in Adolescents

By Keith Hawton; Karen Rodham et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3

The Nature, Prevalence and
Impact of Deliberate
Self-harm and other Suicidal
Phenomena in Adolescents

Introduction

This chapter focuses on the extent and nature of deliberate self-harm and other suicidal phenomena in adolescents. We report the findings from our schools study and then consider the international evidence on this topic. The methods used in acts of deliberate self-harm are described, together with the motivation or stated intention behind such acts. We also consider the extent of premeditation involved and repetition of self-harm. The frequency with which hospital presentation results from self-harm is examined, including the factors associated with this outcome. Finally, we explore the impact that self-harm and suicide have on family members and friends.


Deliberate self-harm

As mentioned in the previous chapter, adolescents in our schools study were asked to indicate whether they had harmed themselves intentionally, such as by taking an overdose or trying to harm themselves in any other way. If they answered positively to this question, they were then asked a number of questions about the last time that they had harmed themselves in order to provide us with a greater understanding of their experiences. Adolescents reporting an act of deliberate self-harm were also asked to describe the act. Those adolescents who had deliberately tried to harm themselves on more than one

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