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Attitudes of healthcare and social care professionals towards self-harm - Dissertation Example

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Attitudes of healthcare and social care professionals towards self-harm

The intention of this study is self-harm or deliberate self-harm, is a concept which is widely experienced in society in contemporary times, yet at the same time, is usually misunderstood. People involved in self-harm are known to suffer from social stigma and have experienced some degree of hostility in their lives. It is perceived and described by researchers as a means to cope with emotional distress. Self-harm is a manifestation of emotional distress – a desperate cry for help and care, experienced by individuals and indicates a disorder that needs immediate primary care to prevent fatal consequences. The rise in incidences of self-harm particularly among the youth is indicative of alarming trend and an issue of serious concern in our society. Deliberate self harm is one of the most commonly reported incidents in the UK requiring emergency care. The trend has assumed greater significance over the years due to the sheer rise in the number of cases reported each year, which has been on the rise during the past decade. The most vulnerable section of the population widely affected by this phenomenon includes young women and men over the age of 55. The first points of contact in case of emergency cases related to direct self harm are the emergency departments. Hence it is of utmost significance that the nurses / the staff directly responsible for handling such patients and providing emergency care must be adequately trained to cater to such patients. According to Happell et al., (2003) triage nurses who are given the key role of detecting direct self harm among patients and providing preventive care, are inadequately trained. Hence they lack the skill and expertise required to assess, diagnose and care for the patients suffering from any sort of mental distress. Such lack of ability to identify and provide effective treatment to their patients results in a serious loss of self-confidence among them, which leads to development of negative attitudes, which in turn is transferred to the patients (Happell et al., 2003; McDonough et al., 2003). Furthermore it has also been widely observed by researchers that in more often than not, the healthcare professionals are highly likely to feel indecisive with regard to providing effective care to patients who tend to self-harm (Holland & Plumb, 1973). They are often perceived to be bothersome by the nurses (Davidhizar, 1993). Also, their intention to self-harm might also be misinterpreted and dismissed by them, as attention seeking behaviour rather than emotional distress (Dower et al., 2000). Research suggests that the healthcare professionals may often fail to comprehend the fundamental factors influencing the patients to indulge in self-harm, which might be attributed to lack of proper training and/or skills required to diagnose such cases and offer appropriate treatment to such patients (Dower et al., 2000; Hopkins, 2002). It has also been observed by researchers that the nurses strongly believe that the patients who self-harm must be attended to by the mental health professionals and must be cared for by nurses who are trained to handle such cases, although the mental health professionals may be ill-equipped to do so. Historically, there has been overwhelming evidence indicating the negative attitudes of health care professionals towards patients who self-harm. According to Cotton et al., (1983) this could be attributed to the negative experiences of the nurses ...Show more
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Summary

This research is being carried out to evaluate and present the attitudes of healthcare and social care professionals towards self-harm. Some of the key implications of attitudes of health care and social care professionals towards patients of self harm are discussed in the paper…
Attitudes of healthcare and social care professionals towards self-harm
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