Research has consistently shown that staff working with people who self-harm tend to experience a range of anxieties and negative emotions. Very little has been written on the particular issues and needs of staff in prisons, where rates of self-harm are high. The current study gathered information about existing sources of support for staff dealing with prisoners who self-harm, and identified positive practice examples. A postal survey was sent out to the Suicide Prevention Team Leaders from every HM Prison Service Establishment in England and Wales (139 in total). Fifty-four surveys (38.8%) were completed and returned. Findings indicate that staff support services were reportedly in place in virtually all 54 establishments. However, the data suggest that even when present, provisions may not have adequately met the needs of staff working with prisoners who self-harm, particularly when dealing with 'repetitive' self-harming behaviours. These findings are discussed in relation to organizational health literature. Their practical and theoretical implications are considered, together with directions for further studies in this under-researched area.
- Self-harm in prisons
- Work stress
- Work stress management and prevention