Is a child and young person at risk of self-harm / suicide

You should look through the child or young person's medical notes and talk to those who have been caring for the child or young person to determine whether a risk assessment and management plan has already been undertaken. If not, you may find the following direct line of questioning a useful starting point when assessing a child or young person's level of risk:

  • "Are you currently having any thoughts about self-harming or ending your life?"
  • "Do you have any plans to self-harm or end your life while you are staying with us on the ward?"

If the child or young person answers "yes" to any of these questions, and you feel confident to do so, further explore to increase understanding of motives, reasons and severity. This could include using a scale from 1 to 10 to establish how likely an adverse event is to occur with 1 being not likely to 10 being very likely or certain.

In these cases, advice from senior members of you team should be sought. It is essential also to seek advice from mental health specialists.

Nurse and child or young person having a discussion