Self-harm in adolescents: Part 1 – risk assessment and management

by Dr Alison Wood, Dr Gemma Trainor and Dr Justine Rothwell


Published: January 2020 


Young people who self-harm represent a significant challenge to professionals. Junior doctors at all stages of training will be required to conduct assessments in a variety of settings. To be effective the doctor is required to conduct an in-depth and thorough psychiatric assessment and to formulate a management plan that will include the mitigation of risk.


Self-harm is a symptom of multiple mental disorders and is not a disorder in its own right. In working through this module it may be helpful to reference The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance for depression, emotionally unstable personality disorder, eating disorders, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), drugs and substance misuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychotic disorders.


This module, the first of a two-part series, covers risk assessment and management. The second module will cover treatments and the legal frameworks.


Start the module


© 2021 Royal College of Psychiatrists