Self-harm is considered a major public health issue at present (Mental Health Foundation, 2006. Cleaver, 2007). The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) describes self-harm as ‘self-poisoning or self-injury, irrespective of the apparent purpose of the act’ (2004:16). The incidence of self-harm in young people appears to be increasing and there is a strong link between self-harm and increased risk of completed suicide (Cleaver, 2007). McDougall and Brophy (2006) produced a summary of the Mental Health Foundation publication, Truth Hurts, examining the implications for nurses and mental health professionals. They report that the incidence of self harm has risen by 30% since the 1980’s and that children are self-harming at
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Many young people report feeling that staff in A&E Departments treat them unfairly. Negative attitudes of staff in these departments is well documented, though Cleaver (2007) questions whether this is reflective of a current societal negative attitude toward young people rather than just to those presenting at emergency departments. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) states that nurses should promote the health and well being of the families of those they care for and to work collaboratively with ‘the team’ (2008). The multi-disciplinary team should include members of the patient’s family. However, much of the research addressing self-harm in young people appears to have exclude the family, focusing solely on the young person and their needs.
Research findings can be incorporated in to our practice, enhancing professional practice through evidence based practice (Polit and Beck, 2008). From the 19th Century quantitative research, which uses statistical analysis, has been favoured for social and behavioural research, aiming to achieve objectivity and distance between the researcher and the subject in order to avoid bias when interpreting results and examining the implications (Polit and Beck, 2008). Grbich (1999) states that researchers operating within the positivist paradigm use quantitative research methods which are mechanistic and concerned with ‘facts’ in a reality which is considered to be external to the researcher. The facts and