A Space To Talk

An evaluation of the wïsh centre’s work with young people who self harm, Centre for Mental Health, November 2018

This year we completed a two year pilot replicating our offer in the London Borough of Harrow in the London Borough Merton.

This was evaluated by Government think-tank the Centre for Mental Health.  The results of the evaluation demonstrate the success that has been previously demonstrated and continues in Harrow, which has been replicated in Merton.

Young people (and other stakeholders) describe a project that is holistic, that focuses on their strengths and in building resilience and that does so at the young person’s pace. The analysis of the hard outcome data collected by wïsh also demonstrates the considerable success wïsh has in helping young people turn their lives around.

Notably, the most marked positive change was for ‘self-harm’, with 81.3% of young people who had been actively self-harming at the outset having reduced self-harming behaviour by the end of therapy.

Of these over 90% had either reduced self-harming significantly or stopped all together.

Attendance of A&E for self-harm was markedly reduced and statistically significant positives outcomes were demonstrated for young people in both Harrow and Merton across a range of outcomes (i.e. self-harm, suicidal ideation, abuse, trauma, anxiety/stress, depression/ sadness, coping mechanisms & emotional resilience).

Cost Benefits (from evaluation report)

The overarching response was that wïsh services were cost effective for two main reasons:

They are relatively low cost. Group activities in particular are seen as inexpensive, but the organisation as a whole was seen as being good at controlling costs.

Health services: reducing the number of GP appointments, A&E attendances, medication and paramedic call-outs;

Local authority services: keeping young people closed to social services or reducing social services referrals;

School budgets: reducing demand for in-school support in particular pastoral support and learning support.

It does prevention work – otherwise could be on a waiting list somewhere else. Referrers often don’t know what to do – like if someone does not reach the threshold for CAMHS. That has an effect on the referrers and on the young people; wïsh has a holding role there

External stakeholder

Centre for Mental Health concludes that the approach offered by wïsh is both successful and replicable. The evaluation report recommends that services using the wïsh approach should be made available across the country, drawing on the benefits of peer support networks and evidence-based psychological therapies, which were both found to have a positive impact on young people at wïsh.