Does initial management affect the rate of repetition of deliberate self harm? Cohort study
Patients who inflict self harm and discharge themselves from hospital before they have undergone a psychiatric assessment are more likely to repeat their actions, says a report in this week's BMJ. The authors, Dr Mike Crawford and Professor Simon Wessely, studied 308 cases of patients inflicting self harm in the region of Southwark, south London, over a period of 18 months. 54 of these patients repeated self harm within this period. The authors conclude that their findings emphasise the importance of optimising the psychosocial management of self harm patients by staff in A & E departments during the initial stages of treatment. They also believe there is a need for further understanding of the reasons why so many patients choose to discharge themselves from hospital before their treatment is complete.
Dr Mike Crawford, Research Fellow, Section of Epidemiology and General Practice, Institute of Psychiatry, London email: firstname.lastname@example.org