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Army: Self-mutilation

Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 4 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the conclusions were of the 2005 Army-sponsored study on causal factors of self-harm; whether further studies were commissioned as a result of the study's findings; and if he will place a copy of the completed report in the Library. (232580)

A copy of the report, 'Prevention of Suicidal Behaviour Among Army Personnel: In-depth Interviews with Soldiers and Healthcare Providers', including the conclusions, will be placed in the Library of the House.

No further studies were commissioned specifically as a result of this study's findings. However, much progress has been made since 2005 in supporting those who may be at risk of suicide or self-harm. In particular, a suicide vulnerability risk management policy has been put in place to assist in identifying potential suicide victims and provide a structure for support.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance is available to commanding officers in order to complete their quarterly reports required by Army headquarters; and what data are captured from these reports in order to improve understanding and protection against suicide and self-harm. (232810)

The Army guidance for Suicide Vulnerability Risk Management (SVRM) is contained within Army General Administrative Instruction (AGAI) Volume 3 chapter 110. This guidance assists commanding officers to identify and manage individuals deemed to be potentially vulnerable in order to put in place the relevant and most appropriate care package.

Units are required to report twice a year via proforma, identifying numbers of incidents of bullying, self-harm and attempted suicide. This reporting helps to further the Army's understanding of risks and trends in order to develop preventative measures and policies.

Once an individual is identified as vulnerable and placed on the SVRM Register, there is a requirement for formal assessments of the individual to take place every three months as part of the Care Assessment Plan (CAP). Guidance on the CAP and how to put it in place with relevant associated measures are described within the document referred to above.