Projects per year
Young people who self-harm face challenges in seeking help, and there is a lack of qualitative research with under 16s, despite rates of self-harm being high and help-seeking low. 122 young people aged 13-26, 108 of whom were aged 13-16, were involved in multiple-methods of qualitative data collection. This included 6 focus group discussions with 33 young people who had limited experience of self-harm; in-depth interviews with 5 people who had self-harmed; and a qualitative online survey completed by 88 young people who had self-harmed. Analysis was thematic. Participants articulated views which could inhibit help-seeking: young people provided strong negative judgements about ‘attention-seeking’ as a motive for self-harm; while ‘private’ self-harm was valorised. Talking to others about self-harm was identified as beneficial, but it was unclear how possible this would be if self-harm must also be kept ‘secret’. Findings suggest that framing self-harm as private, and secretive may be counter-productive.