Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Role of the GP in the management of patients with self-harm behaviour: A systematic review

Mughal, F., Troya, M.I., Dikomitis, Lisa, Chew-Graham, C.A., Corp, N., Babatunde, O.O. (2020) Role of the GP in the management of patients with self-harm behaviour: A systematic review. Cancer Prevention Research, 13 (5). E364-E373. ISSN 1940-6207. (doi:10.3399/bjgp20X708257) (KAR id:98460)


Background Self-harm is a serious risk factor for suicide, a major public health concern, and a significant burden on the NHS. Rates of self-harm presentation in primary care are rising and GPs interact with patients both before and after they have self-harmed. There is significant public and political interest in reducing rates of selfharm, but there has been no robust synthesis of the existing literature on the role of GPs in the management of patients who self-harm. Aim This study aimed to explore the role of the GP in the management of patients with self-harm behaviour. Design and setting A systematic review and narrative synthesis of primary care literature. Method This systematic review was conducted and is reported in line with PRISMA guidance. Electronic databases systematically searched were MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science, and AMED. Two independent reviewers conducted study screening and selection, data extraction, and quality appraisal of all included studies. Thematic analysis was conducted. Results From 6976 unique citations, 12 studies met eligibility criteria and were included. These 12 studies, published from 1997-2016, of 789 GPs/family medicine physicians from Europe, the US, and Australia were of good methodological quality. Five themes were identified for facilitating GP management of self-harm: GP training, improved communication, service provision, clinical guidelines, and young people. Four barriers for GP management of self-harm were identified: Assessment, service provision, local, and systemic factors. Conclusion GPs recognise self-harm as a serious risk factor for suicide, but some feel unprepared for managing self-harm. The role of the GP is multidimensional and includes frontline assessment and treatment, referral to specialist care, and the provision of ongoing support.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3399/bjgp20X708257
Uncontrolled keywords: General practice, Primary health care, Self-harm, Suicide, Systematic review, Article, Australia, automutilation, behavior, doctor patient relationship, Europe, general practitioner, groups by age, health care access, health service, hospital admission, human, knowledge, medical education, methodology, narrative synthesis, patient referral, physician attitude, practice guideline, priority journal, professional competence, risk assessment, risk factor, suicide, systematic review, United States, adolescent, automutilation, suicide, Adolescent, Australia, Europe, General Practitioners, Humans, Self-Injurious Behavior, Suicide
Subjects: R Medicine
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Kent and Medway Medical School
Depositing User: Manfred Gschwandtner
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2022 17:33 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2022 10:15 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.