Self Harm - The FISH Project

The Family Intervention for Self Harm (FISH) Project

The FISH project is a confidential service to support young people and families in reducing their instances and severity of self-harming and to lessen the likelihood of them falling into crisis, without them requiring referral to a specialist mental health support service

The Family Intervention for Self-Harm project (FISH) works with 10-19 year olds and their families to reduce the frequency and severity of self-harm incidents. Running in Birmingham and funded by the Big Lottery, it is the only project of its type to provide a family-focused self-harm intervention service. Parental support is crucial in recognising and aiding a young person’s recovery from self-harming behaviour.

Spurgeons has been running the project funded by a Big Lottery Fund Reaching Communities Grant since 2017.

What is self harm?

Self-harm can take many different forms and as an individual act is hard to define. However a definition is draw together across public services, specialist services and charities. General self-harm (also known as self injury or self mutilation) is the act of deliberately causing harm to oneself either by causing a physical injury, by putting oneself in dangerous situations and/or self neglect (NSHN).

For the purposes of this project, self-harm consists of cutting, burning, hair pulling, biting, picking at skin or reopening wounds, scratching, hitting (with an object) and head banging.

How does the FISH project help?

Providing direct one to one support

Sessions with the young person will develop their awareness, knowledge and understanding of self harm. We will work with them to implement and develop coping strategies to support their wellbeing. In addition, sessions will explore risk management, future goals, building positive relationships, emotional support and identifying/utilising signposting where appropriate.

Providing family sessions

Sessions will develop the understanding and knowledge of self-harm and ways to support themselves and the young person. We will look at ways of engaging with self-harm as well as scenarios in which they can provide/support bringing about a positive alternative for the young person.

Running parental peer support groups

These sessions are an opportunity for parents/carers to share their coping strategies, ways of engaging with self-harm presentations as well as building emotional support from each other. The themes covered relate to an introduction to self harm, the impact of it, and supportive responses and strategies. These will be facilitated by staff.

Who does the FISH project help?

Referrals can be accepted from education, health and voluntary sectors or young people/families can self referral.

Where does the FISH project help?

We offer support within the following Birmingham regions. This is based upon your home residence.

  • Aston (B6)

  • Nechells (B7)

  • Washwood Heath (B8)

  • Sparkbrook (B11)

  • Ladywood (B16)

  • Erdington (B23,B24,B72)

  • Kingstanding (B44)

  • Sutton Coldfield (B72-B76)

What people say about the FISH project?

“I can explain how I feel a lot better” – Young person

“Parents groups were very helpful. We had no knowledge around self harm before. Things we were saying were making things worse. [FISH Project worker] has helped us understand how our child feels” - Parent

“We were really impressed with how quickly the referral was picked up and the response to the referral” – School

Find out more

To find out more about the FISH project, download the leaflet and the person profile below:



If you know a young person who self harms, please contact us at or call 0121 638 0876.


Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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