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Working With Self Harm and Suicidal Behaviour

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’ It will benefit anyone who reads it, as it covers an illness that can affect any one at any time’

Title: Working With Self Harm and Suicidal Behaviour

Authors: Louise Doyle, Brian Keogh and Jean Morrissey

Publisher: Palgrave

Reviewer: Jesse Wallen, community mental health nurse, Merton Drug & Alcohol Team

What was it like?

This book in my opinion is descriptive, informative and therefor useful to all healthcare professionals. The book is as the title says; about working with individuals who self-harm or have experienced/currently experiencing suicidal intent. Be it that they have attempted suicide or feel suicidal, it covers all you need to know, in order to work effectively with this client group. It explores in depth, how people who exhibit these behaviours feel, to what to look out for when workers come across service users, with a history of these behaviours. It explores in detail, the risks around working with or having a relative, friend or colleague who suffers with this unfortunate problem. It gives the reader a good biopsychosocial understanding of self-harm and suicidal behaviour and makes a good attempt at ensuring it is easily readable by all. I most enjoyed reading the chapter about ”Communicating with people who are suicidal”, as my job role means I come across individuals, who suffer with suicidal thoughts/feelings or have attempted to harm themselves in the past or recently.

What were the highlights?

The authors ensured they also included personal considerations for the reader, in order for them to explore the impact on self, of working with service users who exhibit these behaviours. It makes a perfect attempt at providing the reader with self-help tools and advice to maximise success in working with this client group.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Although the book has ample amount of case scenarios, which are useful for the reader, it lacked evidence of service user involvement. The book would have benefited from, having the service users own voice encompassed in certain chapters, such as defining self-harm etc. in order to enhance the potential of reader understanding and creating awareness and empathy.

The delivery of the topic area is of a high quality standard; it breaks the chapters down into readable chunks and ensures that the reader is captured from the very beginning of a sentence. In turn the book does at it set out to, which is to educate the reader on ‘working with self-harm and suicidal behaviour’.

Who should read it?

I think this book is a must read to all! It will benefit anyone who reads it, as it covers an illness that can affect any one at any time. I therefore believe that although nurses, General practitioners and healthcare professionals, should definitely read this book, it should also be made readily available to general readers. 

working with self harm

working with self harm

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