Session 2: General Population and Cohort Surveys

By Rebecca Musgrove and Lana Bojanić.

Self-harm trends and risk factors using adult general population surveys (AMPS)

Sally McManus, National Centre for Social Research.

Sally McManus discussed the new NatCen report – “Suicide and Self-Harm in Britain – researching risk and resilience” which uses a range of cross-sectional data sources gathered from 1993 onwards.

Sally’s talk focused on the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys (APMS), which are general population questionnaire based surveys.  In her talk, Sally stressed that data should be widely available to maximize how it can be used to inform prevention.  Referring to the APMS surveys, she highlighted that data pre 2007 is freely available through the UKDS archive and has been widely used.  However to access the most recent survey from 2014 a Data Access Request must be made to NHS Digital which is a more lengthy process and to date has been much less used in research.  


Self-harm in children with emotional, behavioural, and neurodevelopmental disorders using the Mental Health of Children and Young People surveys

Katharine Sadler, NatCen, Prof Tamsin Ford, University of Exeter.

Prof Ford presented some of the results from the “Mental Health of Children and Young People in England – 2017” survey published in November 2018.  This England only survey collected data via face to face interviews with young people and their parents.

The data collected regarding mental health problems were grouped into four broad categories, with those categorised as ‘emotional disorders’ being the most prevalent in 5 to 19 year olds. The survey showed that one-third of children with an emotional disorder had previously self-harmed. Among young women aged 17 to 19, over half of those who were classified as having a disorder(s) had self-harmed or attempted suicide previously.


What distinguishes adolescents with suicidal thoughts from those who have attempted suicide (ALSPAC)

Dr Becky Mars, University of Bristol.

Dr Mars presented data using the ALSPAC Cohort Study linked with Hospital Episode Statistics and the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). ALSPAC is open for researchers to use for a fee.  She stressed the importance of data linkage since it can help explain drop-outs from longitudinal studies such as ALSPAC.

In the study, the team focused on the model below, recognising that with every suicide attempt there are many others that have considered suicide. Identifying which individuals will attempt suicide is important to be able to develop relevant interventions. Read her research here!


>> Continue reading Session 3: Registered Suicides.


Rebecca Musgrove (@beckymus) is currently researching for a PhD in Epidemiology with a focus on suicide and self-harm for people who have recently been discharged from mental health inpatient care. She is also a Senior Analyst in Mental Health at NHS England (Rebecca.musgrove@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk).

Lana Bojanić (@BojanicLana) has a Master’s degree in psychology and is a Research Assistant at the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health, University of Manchester (lana.bojanic-2@manchester.ac.uk).


Featured Image: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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