Individual and Area Level Determinants of Self-Harm and Suicide in Ireland: Enhancing Prediction, Risk Assessment and Management of Self-Harm by Health Services

In Ireland, the National Registry of Deliberate Self-Harm (Registry) has identified significant variation across hospitals in the assessment and management of patients presenting to hospital for self-harm with a significant number of patients leaving without a care plan. Prof Arensman intends to improve the care provided in Irish hospitals for people engaging in self-harm as well as improving early identification of emerging clusters of suicide and self-harm. This is expected to reduce repeated self harm and suicide nationally. The National Clinical Care Programme for Mental Health (NCCP-MH) and the new National Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention 2015-2020 overseen by the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP), prioritise the enhanced assessment and management of self-harm patients presenting to hospitals, and early identification of self-harm and suicide clusters. However, resources for addressing these strategic priorities are lacking. The vision of the proposed partnership between the NSRF, UCC, NCCP-MH, and NOSP is for Ireland to take a leading role in improving the care for people who engage in self-harm. The research builds on: the Registry, the Suicide Support and Information System, and the SSIS-ACE case-control study of risk factors associated with high risk self harm and suicide.

In this project Prof Arensman will:
- Examine predictive factors associated with risk of repeated self-harm and suicide among people with a history of multiple self-harm acts and those engaging in highly lethal self-harm acts.
- Develop, implement and assess the effectiveness of an enhanced self-harm assessment and intervention programme for self-harm nurses and mental health professionals in general hospitals.
- Identify regional patterns of self-harm and suicide clustering over time.

The programme will adopt a mixed method approach including prospective cohort studies, a cluster randomised controlled trial, and geospatial statistical analysis. The longstanding track record of Prof Arensman and associated partnerships will ensure high quality research, impacting effectively on policy and service delivery.

Award Date
26 June 2015
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Ella Arensman
Host Institution
University College Cork
Research Leader Awards