Scotland launches Self-Harm Strategy

Scotland has launched what is believed to be the world's first Self-Harm Strategy.

The strategy will be aimed at supporting people who self-harm and is backed by £1.5 million.

The strategy has been jointly developed with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and informed by people with lived experience and is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

The strategy includes a three-year action plan which will prioritise tackling stigma and discrimination and improving support for people who have self-harmed – particularly those known to be at higher risk.

The plan focuses on three areas: deepening knowledge and compassionate understanding of self-harm, building support and services across Scotland and improving and sharing data and evidence.

Some of the funding will support a national web chat service offering people help out-of-hours.

Mental wellbeing minister Maree Todd said: “We believe that any person who has self-harmed or is thinking about self-harming should receive compassionate support with a focus on recovery, without fear of stigma or discrimination.

“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. 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.”

COSLA health and social care spokesperson Councillor Paul Kelly said: "Self-harm can be a difficult issue, both for those experiencing it and those who support them.

“We welcome this strategy which seeks to build knowledge and confidence in responding to self-harm across a range of settings, ensuring more people receive the effective and compassionate response they need. We look forward to continuing to work collectively across, and beyond government to support its progress."