A space to talk
An evaluation of the WISH Centre's services with young people who self-harm
Dr Graham Durcan and Juliet Snell
20 November 2018
How can services meet the needs of young people who self-harm? A space to talk shares our evaluation of the WISH Centre’s work with young people across several London boroughs, finding that WISH demonstrates success in helping young people who are self-harming to improve their mental health and quality of life.
Through analysing outcome data and speaking to users of WISH services and stakeholders, we found that the WISH Centre’s work makes a difference to young people, by combining counselling and psychotherapy with facilitated peer support and outreach to young people in schools and communities.
It finds that young people who attend WISH have far fewer A&E attendances during that time than before, and at least two-thirds of young people had improved wellbeing after receiving therapy and over 80% reduce or stop self-harming.
The report concludes that The WISH Centre’s approach creates a safe space in which young people can get expert help in dealing with difficult issues and feelings while also helping each other. And by reaching out into schools and communities it helps to tackle stigma and make it easier for young people to seek help.
In light of our research, we’re calling for:
- CCGs and local authorities across the country to commission services similar to WISH to support young people struggling with self-harm;
- Commissioning more for young men, and a specific offer for young people who identify as LGBT;
- More support for parents, carers, teachers and other professionals;
- Awareness-raising and myth-busting about self-harm to encourage young people to seek help.
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