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Management of self-harm
  1. Aileen McCabe1,2
  1. 1Emergency Department, Tallaght University Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Aileen McCabe, Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin, D24 NR0A, Ireland; aileen.mccabe{at}

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Self-harm refers to any act of self-poisoning or self-injury carried out by a person, irrespective of motivation.1 Paramedics are often the first health professionals in contact with those who self-harm, but their contribution to care of these patients is under-researched. Romeu et al have conducted a cross-sectional questionnaire exploring the experiences of paramedics of caring for people who self- harm.2 Understanding the views of paramedics to caring for patients who self-harm is important as it may determine the quality of care these patients receive. While the response rate of the questionnaire is very low, the paper is important to consider due to the pertinence of the qualitative responses. The study indicates that self-harm is a common presentation seen by paramedics.2 Furthermore, the majority of paramedic respondents indicated that they had not received specific mental health training in their role, and a minority expressed confidence caring for people who self-harm.2

The paramedics’ responses are of concern as self-harm is increasingly being recognised as a major public health concern worldwide. It affects not only those who self-harm but also family members and wider society. The rates of self-harm have been increasing over the past decade and continue to increase post …

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  • Contributors AM has written and revised this commentary.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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