Dumfries & Galloway Health & Social Care

Understanding Self-Harm, Suicidality and Risk Taking Behaviours
for Professionals

What is Self-Harm , Suicidality and Risk Taking Behaviour?

Self-harm usually involves doing things which cause pain or injury to yourself intentionally. This may include things such as cutting or burning yourself. People can self-harm for lots of different reasons and it can be very common in young people.

Suicidality is where you experience thoughts and feelings of wishing you were dead, and potentially making plans to end your own life.

Risk taking behaviours can also sometimes take the form of self harm, or may include situations where you could potentially come to harm.

When to refer to CAMHS?

Please contact CAMHS if you have any concerns regarding risk to self or others in the context of suspected mental health difficulties. 

Please also refer to the GIRFEC principles to consider a multiagency approach . 

Professionals may be able to offer a consultation to discuss whether referral to specialist services such as CAMHS is indicated or join multiagency discussions around risk.

What should I tell the family?

It is important to let the family know that CAMHS is one of a number of agencies that work with risk and that support is available but may require a period of assessment to signpost to the correct resource. 

It is also important to try and safety plan with the family and give the family access to emergency resources if the situation is urgent.

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