The Scottish Government has launched a ground-breaking new strategy to tackle the stigma and discrimination associated with self-harm.
Developed in collaboration with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), the roll-out is backed by £1.5m of government funding and is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.
Professor Amy Chandler of the University of Edinburgh was the supervising academic on a study conducted as part of the strategy’s development.
She said: “While many nations have suicide prevention strategies that include self-harm, this strategy is unique in addressing self-harm separately. This is important, because while self-harm and suicide can be related, this is not always the case.”
The strategy has three key goals:
- Expand knowledge and compassionate understanding
- Build support and services across Scotland
- Review, improve and share data to drive better care
Part of the investment will go towards a national webchat service which can offer support to anyone over the age of 12, seven evenings a week.
The service is a feature of Self Harm Network Scotland, which is run by Penumbra and provides access to advice and free training sessions for those affected by self-harm.
Maree Todd, the Scottish minister for mental wellbeing, explained: “The way in which people seek support and discuss self-harm is changing with many going online for help, so the webchat service being offered by Penumbra is very welcome.”
She continued: “This work is also helping to build our understanding about self-harm and the most helpful interventions so that we can continue to improve the services on offer.”
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