The functions of self‐harm in young people and their perspectives about future general practitioner‐led care: A qualitative study
Self-harm in young people is a serious concern but a deeper understanding of the functions of self-harm in young people can tailor care and inform new clinical interventions to reduce repeat self-harm and suicide risk. General practitioners (GPs), as frontline healthcare professionals, have an important role in managing self-harm in young people. This qualitative study using interviews with young people aged between 16 and 25 years with a personal history of self-harm aimed to explore the functions of self-harm in young people and their perspectives on future GP-led care.
Four distinct functions were identified: handling emotional states; self-punishment; coping with mental illness and trauma; and positive thoughts and protection. Young people valued GP-led support and felt future GP interventions should include self-help and be personalised.