UCL Institute of Mental Health


Influences on Self-Harm (ISH) project

Project Information

We are a team of academics from the UCL Division of Psychiatry and the UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences who have been funded by the UCL Institute of Mental Health to investigate influences on self-harm.


Self-harm is a common phenomenon amongst young people, often used to regulate emotional distress. However, it also carries risks of physical damage and, in some cases, death. It is therefore an important topic to address, in order to alleviate some of the distress associated with self-harm and reduce other associated risks.

We are inviting participants to take part in an online study in which we measure your thoughts about self-harm, with telephone input from a research assistant. The study session will take about an hour. It will involve asking you questions about your past history of self-harm, whether people amongst your family and friends have self-harmed, and asking you to rate your thoughts about self-harm before and after a series of three scenarios. These scenarios are designed to minimise any triggering effect, and we have built in a series of safeguards to our study design.

Our research assistant will be available by telephone at the start of your session to brief you on the study, to give you an opportunity to ask any questions, and to check you are still happy to consent. You can then call back the research assistant at the end of the session to answer any other questions and to collect your payment details. They will also ensure that you are given a list of support sources, and will arrange to call you the day after the session to check whether you have any further questions.

We are inviting participation from people who:

  • are aged 18-25
  • are resident in the UK
  • have a history of having self-harmed in the last 5 years
  • have not had suicidal thoughts in the last month
  • are happy to provide a current email address by which we can contact you to arrange a time and date to participate
  • are happy to provide a telephone number we can call you on whilst you participate in the session
  • are happy to provide GP details, as part of our safeguarding
  • are happy to provide the address of the location you are in at the time of conducting the online session, as part of our safeguarding

We are able to pay participants for their time, at the rate of £7.50 per hour. 

All data will be anonymised and stored on a password-protected central UCL drive in line with data protection legislation. Further details on how we will protect confidentiality are available in the Participant Information Leaflet.

The findings of our research will be used to understand influences on self-harm so that we can design ways of helping people to reduce the risks of physical damage and of suicide attempt.


Support sources

    If you are interested in taking part in this study, please complete our eligibility questionnaire via the link below:

    Eligibility questionnaire