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Sarah Steeg

Sarah Steeg

I am a mental health epidemiologist specialising in researching self-harm and suicidal behaviour. I am particularly interested in what we can learn from electronic healthcare data, such as records from primary care and emergency department services, as well as area-level data, for example information on social deprivation. I want to understand more about the care received by people who have harmed themselves and how their social circumstances influence treatment and outcomes. I am delighted to be part of the Three Schools’ collaboration; the opportunity to work with the NIHR Schools of Primary Care, Public Health and Social Care enables me to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding this complex behaviour. 

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Award Title: Mental Health Fellowship

Start Date: 1st January 2022

End Date: 30th September 2024

Location of Research: Manchester

Collaborating Organisations: Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership 

Project Title: Primary and social care service utilisation and needs among people who have harmed themselves 

Brief Summary: Self-harm is a common reason for people seeking help from their general practitioner (GP). Yet there is little understanding of the needs and follow-up care of people seeing their GP for self-harm. In addition, most research on managing patients who have harmed themselves does not specifically consider people’s social care needs. Understanding the health and social care support needed by different groups of people who have harmed themselves, and who gets that support, is important for making access to services more equal.    

In this research I will use information from anonymised health records in Greater Manchester, a region with particularly high levels of mental illness but low levels of research taking place. People’s health and social care needs and their likelihood of being referred to a range of services after seeking support for self-harm will be examined. Findings will be explored by ethnicity, age groups, gender, whether or not other health conditions are present and level of social deprivation. This will help uncover specific health and social care needs of these groups. It will also help us understand unequal access to health and social care services in different groups. People with experience of self-harm, and carers, will be involved in designing the study and making sense of and sharing the findings of this research.   


  • Co-production 
  • Systematic review 
  • Epidemiological studies of health data 
  • Health needs analysis 

Benefits anticipated: Training for GPs and social care practitioners who work with people who have self-harmed will be designed based on the project findings. The training will be co-produced with GPs, social care practitioners and service users and carers with lived experience of self-harm. The training package will be evaluated in a follow-on research study. Findings will help health and social services to better plan and deliver self-harm care.