Study looking for people who have self-harmed

A new online study, led by Swansea University PhD student Amanda Marchant, is aiming to learn more about self-harm.

The UK has the highest self-harm rate in Europe, with an estimated one in two hundred and fifty people self-harming.

The new study, based in Swansea, is called Self-harm Research UK (SHARE UK). SHARE UK is led by Professor Ann John. Amanda Marchant says on the National Centre for Mental Health (NCMH) website, through their research, SHARE UK aims to improve support for everyone affected by self-harm through giving people a voice to share their experiences.

Self-harm is when somebody intentionally harms or injures themselves. This is often a way of coping with or expressing feelings and emotions that become overwhelming and overpowering to the individual. Most self-harm research is conducted in healthcare settings. The researchers are aware that most people do not seek help from health care services, which leaves a lot of people with no say in research about self-harm and what they think would work for them. The researchers want to change this.

Every part of the study can be completed online and is completely anonymous. Anyone who is aged sixteen or over and has ever harmed can sign up. Once they’ve signed up they will be asked some questions about themselves and have the option of filling in some questionnaires.

The researchers are hoping to learn more about the ways the internet can be helpful. They also want to learn more about potential risks. The more participants can tell them the better. Participants can also tell the researchers about things they’ve looked at online. This can be anything from Facebook groups, to online news or support sites.

The role of the internet in self-harm is a growing area of research and debate. There are concerns over harmful content, triggering material and bullying but the researchers also know there is a great opportunity for support, community and information. They are aware that databases of online information created for research are rapidly outdated. They’ve made it possible for participants to upload online resources (good and bad), allowing them to be studied in real time.

SHARE UK have also set up the UK’s first self-harm research register. While this is separate from the study, participants can choose to join the register when they sign up. By signing up to the register participants have the opportunity to take part in any future studies run by the research team. This is the first register of its kind in the UK. The researchers hope that being able to sign up online will give everyone a voice in research in a way that hasn’t previously been possible.

To learn more about SHARE UK visit their website or email them at

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