Highlights of our Self Harm & Suicide Awareness Conference 2023

As many of you will be aware, we had our 8th annual self harm and suicide prevention conference yesterday, 1st March 2023 to mark Self Harm Awareness day. 

We had a fantastic turnout of delegates as well as a number of expert speakers who spoke on a range of different topics relating to self harm and keeping up with the theme: Keeping Access and Commitment High When Resources Are Low. 

First of all, we wanted to say thank you to everyone who made this day possible. 

For those who were not in attendance, we wanted to highlight some key points to take away from the conference. 

In looking at the overall messages throughout the conference a couple of things to highlight were the following: 

  1. It’s clear that information about supporting those who self harm, it needs to be widely available to different sectors, including but not limited to: 
  • Criminal justice system staff
  • Educational staff
  • Social care staff
  • General hospital settings
  • Non-mental health emergency departments
  • Ambulance staff and paramedics
  • Primary care staff
  • Mental health professionals
  1. We need to consider the effects of the current cost of living crisis.  From a service perspective this has meant, not only offering support with stabilisation in self harm, but it’s looking at the driver behind someone’s self harm. This means in addition we can look at any practical support that could be provided including looking into PIP, housing and debt for individuals. 
  1. In addition to the above, we need to ensure that we are moving away from risk assessments which have very little predictive value in considering someone’s future trajectory.  What this means is, we need to start looking at safety in a more realistic way.  We will often see higher numbers of “low risk” individuals who take their lives.  This means we need to look at the current factors affecting an individual, and consider what safety mechanisms and protective factors they have in place to keep them safe which is all part of suicide prevention. 

If you didn’t have a chance to attend this conference, we will be hosting our next annual conference on the 1st March 2024 – make sure to save the date, we would love to see you there! 

For more information on our current training, please email: training@harmless.org.uk