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Responding to Self-Harm in Scotland Final Report

Mapping Out The Next Stage Of Activity In Developing Services And Health Improvement Approaches

The majority of acts of self-harm are not intended to end a person‟s life. However, depending upon the apparent or stated purpose of the act, selfharm may be referred to by a number of terms, some of which reflect suicidal intent, if this was present. These terms include: deliberate self-harm, intentional self-harm, self-inflicted violence, parasuicide, attempted suicide and non-fatal suicidal behaviour. A self-harmful act may or, more frequently, may not be accompanied by suicidal ideation (thoughts about self-inflicted death) or suicidal intent (seriousness or intensity of wish to die), and so no assumption should be made about the extent to which any particular selfharmful act is oriented towards death („suicidal‟). The level of suicidal intent may range from being completely absent at one end of the spectrum, where self-harm is more about coping with difficult feelings or processing emotional distress, and can at times be life-preserving; a way of averting or dealing with suicidal impulses, while at the other end of the spectrum the level of suicidal intent may be extremely high, where the aim was to die, but this was, for whatever reason, not successful.