Self-harm prevention programme to be rolled out across Kent

Image of a piece of paper, written on on different handwriting in different colours, it says "safe", "I wasn't judged", "Realising I'm not alone", "I could tell my story", "It's OK to be upset", "closer relationships with family & friends"

Addaction Young People's Services in Kent (formerly KCA) are delighted to announce they have secured funding for a team of ten practitioners to deliver a self-harm prevention programme across Kent. The funding has come from the Clinical Commissioning Group following a successful pilot in five schools within the Canterbury district. The Kent-wide service will run initially through to the end of March 2017.

The Mind and Body pilot was commissioned by Canterbury City Council to target young people involved in or deemed especially vulnerable to self-harming behaviours. This followed concerns from GPs about the lack of services for young people who self-harmed but did not meet the thresholds of specialist mental health services.

Since 2011 there has been a steady rise in the number of people presenting at Accident and Emergency Departments across Kent and Medway as a result of self harming behaviours. In 2014, by far the highest number of those who attended hospital as a result of self harming were aged between fifteen and nineteen, with more than four hundred young females alone requiring treatment. 

Initially 49 young people between the ages of 12-16 participated in the pilot. Using a mix of therapeutic group work sessions, one-to-one motivational and assessment interviews and supporting the planning of risk reduction strategies, Mind and Body sessions lasted around an hour. In total, 39 participants had been having thoughts in relation to self harm at the start of the programme. At the end this figure had reduced to 26 participants, a fall of 33.3%. Whilst 26.1% of those who self harmed at the start of the programme had stopped completely by the end. 


Rick Bradley, Operations Manager at the YP service in Canterbury said:

 “As a result of the extended funding we will be able to offer this programme to a far greater number of young people. One of the strengths of the pilot was that participants spoke about feeling less isolated, so it is great that we can offer this support across a much wider area.”

"We are really happy that that we have this extra funding. Perhaps more importantly so are the participants from the pilot. They have helped us to highlight why this is such an important issue and I know they will be pleased that others will now be able to benefit from the programme too.”