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New pilot project offers self-harm intervention for young people at Ipswich Hospital

PUBLISHED: 19:00 26 October 2020

Suffolk covid cases: The number of beds occupied by coronavirus patients at Ipswich Hospital has been revealed Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk covid cases: The number of beds occupied by coronavirus patients at Ipswich Hospital has been revealed Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A pilot project to help support youngsters self-harming has been launched in Ipswich, in a bid to tackle the problem as early as possible.

Suffolk County Council cabinet member for children's services Mary Evans said the pilot was about getting to the root causes of self-harm for youngsters. Picture: GREGG BROWNSuffolk County Council cabinet member for children's services Mary Evans said the pilot was about getting to the root causes of self-harm for youngsters. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The project launched on October 5 and will run until at least June next year at Ipswich Hospital, and features dedicated staff on hand to support youngsters who present to A&E with self-harm symptoms.

Health bosses said it was about getting to the root of the problem at the earliest opportunity to help address the problems which cause youngsters to self-harm in the first place, and put in place measures to support that earlier.

Garry Joyce, deputy director for transformation in the children’s and young people service at Suffolk County Council and the clinical commissioning groups, said: “When they turn up in crisis that service will be there to work with them straight away to put some interventions in place.

“Self-harm is a response to something else going on, and it’s about identifying what is wrong.

“It is running from now until June next year and that gives us time to gather data to find out whether we need to expand what we put in place.”

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Evidence gathered from the pilot will determine what additional measures may be needed and whether it should be rolled out to other hospitals.

The scheme includes assessments delivered by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust clinicians and therapeutic measures delivered by Suffolk Young People’s Health project (4YP).

The pilot is being funded by NHS England with dedicated staff being put in place, but if continued beyond June will need to be funded from local CCG budgets.

Councillor Mary Evans, cabinet member for children’s services at Suffolk County Council, said: “I think it’s a really important project.

“You read about heartbreaking stories of young people with a history of self-harming that is so hard to break.

“Often that comes with low self-esteem and low perception of themselves.

“If you get that really rapid response you might be able to save that life from all the harm and hardship, because it is really hard for families to know what to do.”

The pilot comes as part of a 10-year plan to address gaps in mental health crisis support for young people.


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