Issues, response and support needs of parents if their child had self-harmed, from a parents and professionals perspective
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AbstractSelf-harm for young people has been considered to be a significant health concern (Byrne et al., 2008) and is understood to be typical amongst young people (Hawton et al., 2002). Parents experience an array of overwhelming emotions on finding out about their child’s self-harm (Raphael et al., 2006). To date, little attention has been paid to exploring the understanding and experiences of parents whose children have not self-harmed or looking at the role of mental health (MH) professionals supporting parents from the professional view point. The aim of this research was to understand from both a parents and professionals perspective, what the perceived issues for parents are if their child self-harmed; how would/do parents respond to self-harm; and what support needs do the parents have. A multiple qualitative perspectives design was used. Seven parents were interviewed, alongside two focus groups and one interview with six Mental Health (MH) Professionals and were analysed with Thematic Analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006). The results indicated that parents had a perceived lack of knowledge about self-harm and available support services. How parents respond to a child’s self-harm is influenced by their lack of understanding, how they find out and their natural desire to protect their child. Education about self-harm, strategies for parents and peer support group were identified as key mechanisms for professionals to provide support to parents. Parents and professionals both highlighted the lack of knowledge parents have about self-harm and their desire for support to help their child. There is a future research need to explore the processes which parents follow to seek information and help regarding self-harm and the impact of parent peer support in both community and clinical settings.
CitationRuck, S. (2018). Issues, response and support needs of parents if their child had self-harmed, from a parents and professionals perspective. (Master's thesis). University of Chester, United Kingdom.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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