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Staff Attitudes to Self‐harm and its Management in a Forensic Psychiatric Service

Karen Gough (Devon and Cornwall Forensic Psychiatric Service)
Andrew Hawkins (Devon and Cornwall Forensic Psychiatric Service)

The British Journal of Forensic Practice

ISSN: 1463-6646

Article publication date: 1 December 2000

312

Abstract

Identified risk factors and clinical experience suggest that self‐harm is a common and very significant problem in forensic psychiatric settings. Sparse training on self‐harm given to staff throughout professional development is a concern for staff who can be left feeling dissatisfied and powerless as how to manage the patient who self‐harms. Consequently, staff often have to rely on idiosyncratic beliefs about self‐harm and its management to guide their practice. This survey investigated staff attitudes towards self‐harm in a forensic psychiatric service. The results highlight much variation in attitudes and a sub‐population of staff holding relatively more punitive/negative beliefs. In addition, the survey drew attention to the difficulty of managing self‐harm in forensic settings‐especially in relation to issues around facilitating safe self‐harm.

Citation

Gough, K. and Hawkins, A. (2000), "Staff Attitudes to Self‐harm and its Management in a Forensic Psychiatric Service", The British Journal of Forensic Practice, Vol. 2 No. 4, pp. 22-28. https://doi.org/10.1108/14636646200000030

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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