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Healthcare practitioners' views of self‐harm management practices in older adults in Ireland: A qualitative study

Troya, M. Isabela; Lonergan, Caoimhe; Cassidy, Eugene; Griffin, Eve; Lovejoy, Sally Ann; Mughal, Faraz; Russell, Vincent; Arensman, Ella


M. Isabela Troya

Caoimhe Lonergan

Eugene Cassidy

Eve Griffin

Sally Ann Lovejoy

Vincent Russell

Ella Arensman


To explore healthcare practitioners' views on management practices of self-harm in older adults.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with healthcare practitioners, including consultant psychiatrists, general practitioners, clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, clinical nurse specialists and social workers. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit participants in the Republic of Ireland ensuring diverse perspectives of healthcare practitioners were included. Healthcare practitioners were recruited advertising via professional and clinical research networks, social media, and snowballing methods. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis.

We conducted interviews with 20 healthcare practitioners from April to July 2023. Three main themes were generated: first, a perceived greater risk of suicide, and increased awareness of complexity in older adults' self-harm presentations. Second, integrated care as an avenue for improving the management of self-harm in older adults. Third, the importance of safety planning in risk assessments of older adults.

Healthcare practitioners viewed self-harm in older adults as complex, challenging, and associated with high suicide risk, approaching patients with care and caution. The need for integrated support and improved collaboration between relevant healthcare practitioners was identified. Suggestions were made for primary care having a lead role in identifying and managing older adults after self-harm. Increased mental health promotion and awareness of mental health and self-harm in this age group would help address current stigma and shame.


Troya, M. I., Lonergan, C., Cassidy, E., Griffin, E., Lovejoy, S. A., Mughal, F., …Arensman, E. (2024). Healthcare practitioners' views of self‐harm management practices in older adults in Ireland: A qualitative study. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 39(7), Article e6116.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 17, 2024
Online Publication Date Jun 26, 2024
Publication Date Jul 1, 2024
Deposit Date Jul 2, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jul 2, 2024
Journal International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Print ISSN 0885-6230
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 7
Article Number e6116
Keywords self‐harm, older people, management, suicide, qualitative
Public URL
Publisher URL


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