This weeks Inside Health discussed a report about self harm.
The report (http://www.cellogroup.com/pdfs/talking_self_harm.pdf) was produced by a company, Cello (who are a “a leading global insight and strategic marketing group with a primary focus on the pharmaceutical and health sectors in addition to deep expertise in a range of other high margin sectors” in conjunction with Young Minds, a charity for young people’s mental health.
This is the press release
From this, it says
“Almost half GPs feel that they don’t understand young people who self-harm and their motivations”
“In the most comprehensive research undertaken in the UK into perceptions of self-harm amongst young people, parents, GPs and teachers, all respondents agreed that self-harm is more concerning than drug use, binge drinking, bullying and gangs.”
From the report, it seems that they interviewed 50 GPs. However the report does not include normal research information such as the number of GPs approached, the response rate, the questionnaires used, the responses to each question. I’ve asked for the full research to be made available, and I’ve been told that someone could talk me through it but I couldn’t see it.
There are lots of issues about the lack of resources for young people in mental distress. But I would question whether this survey actually adds reliable evidence of what GPs think and might even be harmful – I would hate if a young person read the headlines resulting from this report and concluding that they won’t get help from their local surgery.
If organisations want to gather headlines about their research, they should do the decent thing and allow readers full access to their survey techniques and results – otherwise it isn’t possible to take seriously as much more than fodder for publicity.