by guest author Amanda Marchant
I'm Amanda, a PhD student and research assistant at Swansea University. I run the SHARE UK webpage, Facebook and Twitter accounts. I also work on other research projects looking at childhood and adolescent mental health, self-harm and suicide prevention. As a team we want our research to help improve mental health support.
Reports out in the summer suggest that 1 in 4 fourteen year old girls and 1 in 10 boys have harmed themselves in the past year. Self-harm is very common but research suggests that up to half of young people who self-harm don’t receive help from anyone.
We want this to change and for this we need your help! SHARE UK is a ground breaking study looking to learn more about self-harm from people who have experienced it themselves. We want to make a real change but we need you to help us learn about what would make a difference to you. This could be better support in hospitals, schools, anti-bullying policies, help online or maybe even some new ideas!
The study can be completed all online and you can tell us as much or as little as you like. If you have any ideas or comments or if you would like to write for our blog then we’d love to hear from you too at firstname.lastname@example.org
The UK's first self-harm research register – over 200 people strong so far!
The most important part of any research with self-harm is real people. We can’t make change without you to tell us about your experience. We have created a register that gives everyone the chance to sign up to hear more about future research and studies that they might like to take part in. People can sign up online and we hope that this will give everyone a voice in research.
We have had over 200 people sign up already and this is amazing! Research is an important part of the push for services, government spending and how support is organised. If as many people as possible take part then we can make this push for change even stronger.
What you guys say
We’ve had some amazing feedback and ideas from you guys especially from our feedback survey where you get to write pretty much whatever you like! Here are some of our highlights:
‘There needs to be more work on the barriers to finding help for self-harm. Things could change to help people engage with services.’
‘There needs to be more community based mental health education classes. This could improve social skills, confidence and give people a chance to support one another.’
‘There needs to be more support for new mums.’
‘The topic of self-harm is very important to me and to so many people. Thank you so much for working in this field!’
World Suicide Prevention Day brought about a lot of debate about the press and the internet and the way we talk about suicide, self-harm and mental health. Creators of content online can reach so many people and have an important role in starting conversations and reducing stigma. This doesn’t always happen though and there have been several high profile cases of online bullying, predators and other dangers conjuring images of a dark and precarious online world.
We want to know more about what you think. What’s good and what’s bad? This can help to make guidance for bloggers, internet service providers and anyone who makes content online for how best to talk about suicide, self-harm and mental health in a sensitive way.
By learning more about how people use the NHS we can help to make it better. Every time we use the health service data happens. This can be from a seeing a GP to visiting A&E or staying in hospital. This data has been anonymised and secured to be used for research.
Here at SHARE UK we want to take this even further. We are giving people the option of linking the information from the SHARE UK site to anonymised healthcare data. All the information is separated from personal details so even our researchers cannot identify anyone. The possibilities for research from this anonymised data are huge and it means that we can give extra meaning to the information collected from the NHS. This could help us make a real impact on healthcare.
To learn more we have created a Pinboard style dashboard where you can add anything you have viewed online to our media databank. Anything you upload will only be seen by you and our research team and you can add comments about sites or groups if you want to. We use this databank to look at things like quality, images and potential for harm or for support.