Scotland could become first country in world with self-harm strategy

Scotland is aiming to become the first country in the world with a dedicated self-harm strategy.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 14th October 2021, 11:07 am
Kevin Stewart, the Scottish government's minister for mental wellbeing, has said that Scotland is aiming to become the first country in the world with a dedicated self-harm strategy.

By current definition self-harm comes under a national suicide prevention strategy in Scotland.

A Scottish Government minister has revealed however a different approach to self is now being considered.

Kevin Stewart, the Scottish government's minister for mental wellbeing, told BBC Scotland: "We need to go further and I think it is only right that we look at a self-harm strategy and action plan as we have done with suicide prevention.

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"I'm not aware of any other country in the world that has a unique dedicated self-harm strategy but that is what we are going to do.

“The Government will continue to work with partners like the Samaritans in order for us to get this right in the future."

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It comes as rates of self-harm are increasing across the country, particularly amongst young people and those from deprived backgrounds.

One in 10 calls to the Samaritans are about self-harm and a report from the charity expresses concerns that self-harm support is falling off the agenda.

Glasgow University professor Rory O'Connor, who is involved in suicide prevention and self harm research, told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland: "If we look at the stereotype, this stigmatising myth that self-harm is about attention-seeking, it is not. It is about attention-needing.

“Ask yourself how bad you must feel if you are willing to harm yourself because that way of harming yourself is often a way of dealing with unbearable pain."

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