Leeds academics awarded key research grant to study self-harm in teenagers

A team from the School of Medicine has been awarded a grant of £230,000 to study self-harm in teenagers.

Working with colleagues from UCL and KCL they will carry out a systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of interventions for self-harm in young people.

Self-harm is a major public health concern with risk of repetition high and suicide the second commonest cause of death in 10 to 24-year olds, after road traffic accidents. However, there is still no clear evidence of an effective treatment intervention that will reduce the likelihood of further self-harm if someone has already self-harmed, including from the largest RCT addressing self-harm, the SHIFT trial, which was led from the Leeds SoM. Existing research has offered the same treatment to groups of young people who have self-harmed in different ways and for different reasons.

In the current study our aim is to identify sub-groups of young people for whom specific types of therapeutic interventions may be effective, thus providing clearly defined research recommendations for future clinical practice and RCTs. We already have an agreement to share data from the authors of around 20 intervention studies, conducted in Europe, the USA and Australia as well as in the UK.

David Cottrell, Chief Investigator

Other Leeds Co-applicants: Amanda Farrin, Rebecca Walwyn, Alexandra Wright-Hughes (LICTR), Judy Wright (LIHS)

Other non-Leeds co-applicants: Peter Fonagy (UCL), Dennis Ougrin & Daniel Stahl (KCL)