News and research


Open Minds Alliance CIC have entered a partnership with Samaritans, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Southwick Media Consultancy to develop a multi-media, multi-agency media campaign to support and promote the 2012 World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) on 10th September.

The theme of the 2012 WSPD is 'Strengthening Protective Factors and Instilling Hope'. 

We will also be highlighting the new Royal College of Psychiatrists


* 'Feeling on the edge helping you get through it'

* 'Feeling overwhelmed and staying safe'

* 'U Can Cope' - available in August

See the 'U Can Cope - World Suicide Prevention Day 2012 Campaign' press release on the Royal College of Psychiatrists website.  

Alys Cole-King was on Woman's Hour recently discussing the issue of self harm and promoting help seeking and available support. Please find a link to the Radio 4 webpage where you will find the discussion and links to the Connecting with People website to access the new resources 'Feeling on the edge helping you get through it' and 'Feeling overwhelmed and staying safe':   >

We are working with over a hundred organizations including academics, Voluntary Groups, Royal Colleges and other professional bodies and would be delighted if you would be willing to support this initiative.

Please join us and sign up to follow the 'U Can Cope WSPD campaign' via Twitter on the Connecting with People website:




 SAMH, a national mental health charity, today published released the results of an on-line survey which was created to find out more about people’s first-hand experiences of self-harm. The survey received 227 responses with people giving honest and frank accounts of self-harm and the support they received.  


The survey showed that 58% of respondents never received medical attention for their injuries while the experiences of those who had received treatment varied greatly. Another key finding of the survey was that only 5% of those who took part said that they self-harm in order to get care.


The survey show that reasons for self-harming vary from coping with pressure, feeling a release or calming down. The research also shows that self-harm can take many forms, from cutting and burning to harmful drinking and eating disorders.


Billy Watson, Chief Executive of SAMH, said:


“This research underlines the urgency of this issue in Scotland, as most people report that their self-harming has increased in frequency and intensity over time. Participants reported different reasons for this, including increasing levels of stress. One of the reasons we undertook this research was that  previous research into self-harm has mostly been carried out through hospitals and other NHS services, but our new research indicates that a majority of people who self-harm have never received medical treatment for their injuries and so their views could not have been included in previous studies.  Earlier this year, we called on the Scottish Government to go beyond the NHS in order to understand the scale and nature of self-harm, and this research backs up our argument.”


In November 2011 the National Institute for Clinical Excellence published new guidelines for the longer management of self-harm

To download a copy  press here.

OUT OF THE BOX Group of interest for people with lived experience of Self-harm
We have had several meetings with people who are interested in sharing ideas and good practice around peer-led support for adults who use self harm as a means of coping.  The meetings are organised by Outside the Box and alternate between Glasgow and Edinburgh.  We decided that we want to continue to meet every month-6 weeks. 

For  more information about the aims of the group and the issues they want to tackle click here - could you please pass the information onto anyone that would be interested.  There is also more information on Out of the Box website:

Next meeting on Friday 23rd March 2012, 1-3 at  Daybreak House, Health and Wellbeing Centre. 12 Marchhall Crescent, EH16 5LG

You can get more information about the group and the meeting from Outside the Box:

‘Safe self harm’ – is it possible?

Matter for discussion submitted by the RCN Mental Health Nursing Forum

That this meeting of RCN Congress discusses the nurse’s role in enabling safe self harm.

Work led by the Nursing Development Committee
Lead RCN Council member: Alan Mawbey

In this discussion members identified a clear need to offer compassionate, humane and dignified care to people who self harm and agreed that interactions with people who self harm, particularly repeatedly, should be based upon an understanding that such self harm is usually a coping mechanism in times of extreme psychological stress.

The debate acknowledged that many nurses come into contact with people who self harm, but there was a particular focus of debate around a nurses’ responsibility whilst caring for someone who repeatedly self harms and wishes to continue doing so whilst receiving nursing and medical care.

Many members felt that, whilst it is a challenge to nurse such individuals, there may be merit (whilst working towards abstention) in nursing the person using a ‘harm minimisation’ model.

There was unanimous support for the RCN to explore this approach with appropriate stakeholders.

The first step was to consult with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), because of a perceived obstacle presented by the Code of Conduct to the harm minimisation approach. To that end there have been meetings with the NMC and other stakeholders to scope the issues that may face the NMC in the context of mental health care, and self harm was placed firmly upon that agenda.

Secondly, members engaged in the RCN Political Leadership Programme have been focused on lobbying the NMC regarding the proposed revision of the Code of Conduct with regard to the need to consider accommodating nurses who engage with people who self harm, and who work in a clinical context where the prohibition of self harm is not the prime approach.

Thirdly, the Mental Health Advisory Panel has secured funding to develop an RCN publication. This will contain guidelines for nurses who work in environments where individuals who self harm are permitted to do so in care, with a treatment approach that emphasises harm reduction whilst engaging the individual in a care pathway leading to a reduction if not abstention.