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Fifteen-minute consultation: safety assessment prior to discharge of patient admitted for self-harm
  1. Annie Swanepoel
  1. Correspondence to Dr Annie Swanepoel, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, High Street, Hoddesdon Health Centre, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire EN11 8BE, UK; annie.swanepoel{at}


Paediatricians often admit young people who have self-harmed, as advised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines. A full psychosocial assessment is essential to understand the underlying needs and risks. In this paper we focus on what the discharging doctor needs to know to arrange for a safe discharge. This involves reviewing the admission notes for red flags. We also give advice on the verbal and non-verbal communication skills needed to contain both the doctor's and the patient's difficult feelings.

  • Child Psychiatry
  • Multidisciplinary team-care

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.