Definitions from the Mental Health Foundation (2003) are:
– Deliberate self-harm is self-harm without suicidal intent, resulting in non-fatal injury;
– Attempted suicide is self-harm with intent to take life, resulting in non-fatal injury;
– Suicide is self-harm, resulting in death.
Deliberate self-harm is a common precursor to suicide and children and young people who deliberately self-harm may kill themselves by accident. Self-harm can be described as wide range of behaviours that someone does to themselves in a deliberate and usually hidden way. In the vast majority of cases self-harm remains a secretive behaviour that can go on for a long time without being discovered. Many children and young people may struggle to express their feelings and will need a supportive response to assist them to explore their feelings and behaviour and the possible outcomes for them. The following risk factors – particularly in combination – may make a young person vulnerable to self-harm.