Rapid response pathway united to reduce self-harm (RUSH): A case study of a pilot pathway for children and young people

Molly Cross, Tim Clarke

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: In response to elevated local self-harm and suicide rates, and the lack of a dedicated pathway for children and young people (CYP) who self-harm, a rapid response pathway united to reduce self-harm (RUSH) was developed and implemented within Norwich (Norfolk, England). This public health case study aims to describe the pathway model and share its outcomes, learnings, and reflections over the pilot year. Design/methodology/approach: RUSH was a community-based pilot pathway aiming to support CYP, 11–18 years old, engaging in or at risk of engaging in repeated self-harm and subsequently at risk of repeated attendance at local emergency departments. From May 2020 to April 2021, RUSH supported 61 CYP using funding from NHS England and Improvement. Findings: This case study shares the pathway’s outcomes, through a mixed-method evaluation. Results indicate statistically significant reductions in self-harm frequency (p = 0.01) and anxiety and depression symptomatology (p < 0.001); a statistically significant increase in progress towards goals (p < 0.001); and a general downward trend in re-attendance at local emergency departments following RUSH. Findings also illustrate high service user satisfaction. Framework analysis of focus group data highlights positive experiences with hope for recommissioning from a staff perspective. Originality/value: This study will be valuable for services looking to develop and implement a similar service provision, in response to the need to tackle self-harm rates as a broader approach to suicide prevention. In light of the NHS long-term plan (2019), it also serves as an example of how to develop and use a strategic co-production group, and work collaboratively with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Mental Health
Issue number1
Early online date5 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2022


  • Children and adolescents
  • Mental Health
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide
  • Young people

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