The barriers and facilitators to the reporting and recording of self‑harm in young people aged 18 and under: a systematic review

Gillian Waller, Dorothy Newbury-Birch, Diane Simpson, Emma Armstrong, Becky James, Lucy Chapman, Farhin Ahmed, Jennifer Ferguson

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Abstract

Background and aims This systematic review sought to identify, explain and interpret the prominent or recurring themes relating to the barriers and facilitators of reporting and recording of self‑harm in young people across differ‑ ent settings, such as the healthcare setting, schools and the criminal justice setting. Methods A search strategy was developed to ensure all relevant literature around the reporting and recording of self‑harm in young people was obtained. Literature searches were conducted in six databases and a grey literature search of policy documents and relevant material was also conducted. Due to the range of available literature, both quantitative and qualitative methodologies were considered for inclusion. Results Following the completion of the literature searches and sifting, nineteen papers were eligible for inclusion. Facilitators to reporting self‑harm across the different settings were found to be recognising self‑harm behaviours, using passive screening, training and experience, positive communication, and safe, private information sharing. Bar‑ riers to reporting self‑harm included confidentiality concerns, negative perceptions of young people, communication difficulties, stigma, staff lacking knowledge around self‑harm, and a lack of time, money and resources. Facilitators to recording self‑harm across the different settings included being open to discussing what is recorded, services working together and co‑ordinated help. Barriers to recording self‑harm were mainly around stigma, the information being recorded and the ability of staff being able to do so, and their length of professional experience. Conclusion Following the review of the current evidence, it was apparent that there was still progress to be made to improve the reporting and recording of self‑harm in young people, across the different settings. Future work should concentrate on better understanding the facilitators, whilst aiming to ameliorate the barriers. Keywords Self‑harm, Young people, Mental health, Recording, Reporting, Systematic review
Original languageEnglish
Article number158
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Your Voice Heard project has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research – Applied Research Collaboration, North East and North Cumbria (NIHR-ARC, NENC).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Crown.

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