assessment of deliberate self-harm

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The aims of an assessment are to find out information in three specific areas:

  • is there an immediate risk of suicide
  • is there a subsquent risk of further deliberate self harm or suicide
  • what are the current medical and social problems

Whilst undergoing the assessment, the patient should be encouraged to adopt a constructive view of his problems and of the ways he can deal with them himself.

Encouragement of self-help in the patient is important because often the patient will be unwilling to be seen as an outpatient after the presenting incident.

Information should be obtained from sources other than the patient e.g. the family doctor, relatives, friends etc. The picture painted by them may be very different than that by the patient.

Last reviewed 01/2018