Public Engagement

Co-creating a support tool

 Support tool
This project resulted in a co-created leaflet for friends of those who self-harm

Download project resources

Project case study

Support tool

Project contact:

Hannah Heath (Department of Psychology) -


Staff from local support services

Engagement activity:

A series of eight focus groups with friends of people who self-harm and those who support them to co-create and then refine a support tool (a practical leaflet) 

Project summary

This project led by Hannah Heath, a postgraduate researcher in the Department of Psychology, drew on her PhD research that had demonstrated that friends often do not know how best to support a friend who self-harms yet often take on excessive levels of responsibility for their friend's welfare.

Looking to translate her academic work into a support tool with real-world applications, Hannah designed and delivered eight focus groups (five in phase one and three in phase two) targeted at both University students and staff of two local support services. In total, 24 people participated.

In phase one, participants were presented with mind maps that presented the main findings from Hannah's research. They were then invited to write on the maps, using them as a basis for discussion as to the relevance or otherwise of the findings. They were also asked about what preferences they had for how a support tool should look - e.g. its size and layout.

In phase two, Hannah participants fed back on a draft support tool, giving feedback on its content, layout, and design. Feedback mainly focused on softening up the language, making sure that all content was appropriate to the format, and making it easier to navigate by making titles more obvious. Following these focus groups, the final support tool was produced. 

Find out more about the project

For further details on the project, including the benefits to the researchers and the publics, things they would do differently, and their top tips, see the project case study. The project's resultant support tool is also available.