There is increasing interest in psychiatry, or at least it is more visible, amongst the student body with an active student society and many students requesting Student Selected Components (SSC) in psychiatry. This post is by one such student. John Hayton is a Stage 4 student currently carrying out an SSC generating a video for use on this site. Here’s what John has to say.
Deliberate self harm (or DSH) is a category which covers both self harm with and without suicidal intent. DSH without suicidal intent might include cutting or burning themselves on the arms, legs or abdomen, hitting themselves, self-poisoning or asphyxiation. Some DSH is a suicide attempt which was unsuccessful, some deaths do occur after DSH with no suicidal intent. So its very useful to look at the picture holistically: was there any plan to kill themselves, was there any thought that the action could lead to death. Did they take any actions that would isolate themselves to reduce the chance of discovery before the DSH event?
Motives for DSH include a means of expressing distress, a means of asking for support or escaping from situations which the person feels unedurable.
If we look at this account knowing this: what things can we see there? What can we learn from it?
I am currently working on a video project to teach students how to take a history and risk assess a person with self harm, and this account is so very valuable because it allows us to understand what DSH meant to this person. By understanding the person, we can help them, and others overcome deliberate self harm.
If another students wish to generate material for this site please feel free to send it to me.