This commentary explores some of the existing literature, policy and legislation relevant to the rationale and design of a leaflet appropriate for young people who self-ham. It is thought that about 1 in 10 young people in the UK have self-harmed at some point in their life. Although it has been found that self-harm predominantly affect vulnerable adolescence the reasons for doing so cannot not always be generalised (Hawton et al, 2012). In the absence of a commonly agreed definition of adolescence, age has been used to define young people, as opposed to physical characteristics or cognitive development. Therefore, while this commentary will describe adolescence as those between the ages 12 and 18 years; some studies have also considered those up to the age of 25 years within the same dialogue (Hawton et al, 2012). Thus, adolescents and young people will be used interchangeably throughout this commentary.
When considering the issue of self harm, it is imperative to clarify the distinction this has to suicide as there is often an assumption on the intent to kill oneself on both accounts. According to the NHS Choices (2014) Self-harm involves an act with intent to injure or damage one’s body, as a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress. However, while it is also acknowledged that self-harm may also lead to death, this may results as an unintended consequence, with the real intentions more often transpiring from the desire to punish one self, express distress or relieve unbearable internal tension (NHS Choices, 2014). This position is also held by those who have described self-harming as a dangerous act of injuring one’s self (Hawton et al, 2012).
Conversely, Hawton et al (2012) observes sui...
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...the act and potentially be distressing or embarrassing for the young reader who has previously self-harmed (Williams, 2012).
In addition, a careful consideration was also given to the font sizes and large bodies of text where font size was reduced appropriately to accommodate a legible font size of minimum 10 points (CannPrint, 2007). Bullet points were preferred against paragraphs, to keep the reader engaged, whilst remaining informative (Marketing Minefield, 2013).
While Carta, (2011) observes a suggestion that imagery can enhance the appeal of a leaflet particularly to young people, CannPrint (2007) would argue that too many images could distort the meaning of a leaflet. Therefore, this leaflet utilised 9 images to appropriately balance the text, considering that the latter could also congest the leaflet and lose the attention of especially the younger people.
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