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Mental health, self-harm and suicide - with a focus on children, young people and adults

Ann John

27 Jun 2024


People of any age may self-harm but there is evidence of increases in self-harm in young people over the last decade. Around one fifth of those who self-harm repeat the behaviour within a year. Most people who self-harm do not go on to take their own lives but around half of those who do take their own lives have a history of self-harm.

While self-harm remains one of the commonest reasons for hospital attendance, only a minority of those who self-harm present to hospital services. Primary care, home, educational, custodial and social care are important settings where people present. In this whole day event we will explore best practice in responses, risk assessment, involving family and carers, formulation and safety planning for people presenting with self-harm and suicidal behaviours across settings.

The event will be equivalent to 5.1/2hrs of CPD.


We will review the latest statistics on suicide and self-harm and their implications for practice. We will discuss key areas of concern (adverse childhood experiences, mental health and neurodiversity, substance use, bereavement, social media, news reporting, gambling, ethnicity and financial adversity) including how these relate to theories of suicidal behaviours as applied to practice.

We will explore best practice in responses, risk assessment, involving family and carers, formulation and safety planning for people presenting with self-harm and suicidal behaviours including the latest NICE guidelines and current recommendations from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety. We will explore practice across different settings including schools and universities. We will discuss evidence-based interventions across health, social care and educational settings.

Learning Objectives

• To understand current statistics of suicide and self-harm including contacts with primary and secondary health services, educational settings (schools and universities) and mental health
• To be aware of key areas of development and/or concern including adverse childhood experiences, mental health and neurodiversity, substance use, social media, gambling, ethnicity and financial adversity
• To understand underlying theories of suicide and self-harm (e.g. Integrated Motivational Theory) and how to apply them to practice
• To be aware of best practice in responses, risk assessment, involving family and carers, formulation and safety planning to self-harm and suicidal behaviours
• To be aware of evidence-based interventions for self-harm
• To discuss responses to a death by suicide with a focus on those in educational (schools and universities) and health settings and support for those bereaved by suicide

Training Modalities

Didactic, Q and A, video, polls

Key References

John A, del Pozo Banos M, Gunnel D,..., Lloyd K (2020). Contacts with primary and secondary healthcare prior to suicide: case-control whole-population-based study using person-level linked routine data in Wales, UK 2000-2017 British Journal of Psychiatry

John, A., Friedmann, Y., DelPozo-Banos, M., Frizzati, A., Ford, T., & Thapar, A. (2022). Association of school absence and exclusion with recorded neurodevelopmental disorders, mental disorders, or self-harm: A nationwide, retrospective, electronic cohort study of children and young people in Wales, UK. The Lancet Psychiatry, 9(1), 23-34. DOI:10.1016/S2215-0366(21)00367-9 

Marchant, A., Hawton, K., Burns, L., Stewart, A., & John, A. (2021). Impact of Web-Based Sharing and Viewing of Self-Harm–Related Videos and Photographs on Young People: Systematic Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(3), e18048. DOI: 10.2196/preprints.18048 

O'Connor, R. C. & Kirtley, O. J. 2018. The integrated motivational–volitional model of suicidal behaviour. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 373, 20170268.
Responding to a suicide- advice for universities:

Responding to suicide clusters:

About the presenter

Ann John, a public health trained former GP, is a Professor of Public Health and Psychiatry at Swansea University Medical School. Her research focuses on suicide and self-harm prevention, serious mental illness and children and young people’s mental health.

Ann works across sectors translating research into evidence-based practice and policy to prevent suicide and self-harm. She played a key role in the development of Wales National Suicide and Self-harm Prevention Strategy, UK Cluster Guidance, UK Postvention Framework in Higher Education and leads the Suicide Information Database-Wales. Ann chairs the National Advisory Group to Welsh Government and co-chairs the Cross- Government Group on suicide and self-harm prevention and is the national lead for suicide prevention for Public Health Wales. She has worked on a number of major TV storylines from Eastenders, Coronation Street to the BBC’s This is Going to Hurt enabling the responsible depiction of suicidal behaviors. She is regularly called upon to provide advice to both Wales and UK Government. She is a Trustee of MQ and former Trustee of Samaritans UK.

Who should attend

This workshop is relevant to all mental health practitioners working across health (primary and secondary services) and educational settings.

Low Intensity clinical contact hours survey - BABCP Low Intensity Special Interest Group

Please click below if you are interested in contributing to the survey.


The BACP Low Intensity SIG are interested in the impact of clinical contact hours on Low Intensity/Wellbeing Practitioner wellbeing. This questionnaire contains six multi-choice questions and a free text box for you to share your experiences. The answers to these questions will help the BABCP SIG plan how to meet CPD topics and other developments within the SIG.  The SIG hope to produce a write up of the answers to this questionnaire to be shared with SIG members and to be used in training.

View Survey

This FREE conference is for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners working in Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression services and is brought to you by Bespoke Mental Health in collaboration with the NHS England Talking Therapies National PWP Leads Network

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