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On May 16, while walking from the high-end Serena Hotel to a flea market in downtown Kampala, Uganda, Chhitup Lama, a blind Nepalese man, was holding on the elbow of Bau Bautista who was guiding him as they traversed the city.

Out of nowhere, policemen appeared to tell the two “not to hold hands” since doing so was “not allowed”. Apparently, these policemen assumed that the two are in a gay relationship and the “touching” was a PDA (public display of affection), which was a no-no for them.

When told that Chhitup is blind, they backed out. “Oh,” one of them said. “Good job, good job.”

This – in a way – encapsulates what it’s like to live as an LGBTQI person in Uganda…

“The Ugandan system is broken,” Ruth Muganzi said, noting that – at times – LGBTQI people are used as scapegoats so people forget how bad the country’s situation is due to government actions/inactions. “But we volunteer, we sacrifice because we’re fighting to survive.”


“The news you hear (about LGBTQI people in Uganda while) overseas, those are true,” said Jay Mulucha of Fem-Alliance Uganda to Outrage Magazine. This is because it’s still a crime (to be LGBTQI) in Uganda; and there is a lot of crimes (directed against) LGBTQI people in Uganda,” including “attacks, being taken to jail… So the situation is (still) not that good).”

Jay, a transgender man, experienced how dire the situation can be in Uganda. He was actually expelled from school after his teammates (while a varsity) found out he’s part of the LGBTQI community. “They didn’t know me as a trans person; they knew me as a lesbian,” he recalled. This news “went around the university and they had to expel me because of who I am.”

But Jay said that this gave him “the courage to come out to everyone”

Because of who he is, “my family is not comfortable with me,” Jay said. Fortunately for him, his only sister sides with him. “She says she will never walk away from me because I’m still a part of the family and no matter what they do, (we’re of the same blood) and she can’t do anything about that so she will still support me. The rest of the family is not okay with me.”

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All the same: “This is me and I don’t care about anything else.”

Isaac Mugisha of Spectrum Uganda, “were still there; we’re still not giving up.” He added that “we believe that it’s the right of every Ugandan to walk everywhere and to get service.”


The laws of the land have repeatedly been used against LGBTQI people in Uganda.

On September 29, 2005, for instance, Pres. Yoweri Museveni signed a constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage equality.

Then on December 17, 2013, the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014 was passed, mandating life imprisonment for aggravated homosexuality. While it was eventually annulled by the Uganda Constitutional Court, it was NOT because the law was illegal; instead, it was on a technicality, and that because “not enough lawmakers were present to vote” on the law. Meaning, a similar law can still be passed… with the needed number of politicians advocating anti-LGBTQI sentiments.

Most recently, in April, Pres. Museveni went on a media blitz to denounce LGBTQI people again, using the erroneous line of reasoning that being LGBTQI is a “foreign” introduction, that it is “wrong” and that “the mouth is for eating, not for sex”.

But according to Isaac Mugisha of Spectrum Uganda, “were still there; we’re still not giving up.” He added that “we believe that it’s the right of every Ugandan to walk everywhere and to get service.”

Isaac is, by the way, helming the organizing of Pride in Uganda, which the government often cancels.


Working with the LGBTQI community is – obviously – challenging.

For instance, “you don’t want any LGBTQI people to be affiliated with you” as it could put them in danger, Isaac said.

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But this is also because not many LGBTQI Ugandans come out and are willing to say “I am LGBTQI”.

For Ruth Muganzi of Kuchu Times, “You risk a lot by (coming out and) sharing your story. But it is also very important for us to be very visible.”

Isaac said that “every time mainstream media (released) stories about the LGBTQI community, these were negative stories that (made) other Ugandans react violently against LGBTQI people. When you put out a story that says that gay men are raping children, or that we’re recruiting children, of course it invokes a sense of anger from community members that are (to start) already (not supportive of us because) of the assumed cultural and religious perspectives (that oppose us).”

Ruth is first to say that working for – not just living as part of – the LGBTQI community is “difficult, but it is something that we anticipated.”

Jay, of course, said that even the local LGBT community still needs to be educated – e.g. it is still not very familiar with trans issues, leaving many issues of the Ugandan trans community unattended. Not to different from a country like the Philippines, in Uganda, “many people think that a trans person is (just) a gay person,” Jay said. While – yes – a trans person can also be gay, the very idea of being trans is still completely foreign to so many people.

Still not many LGBTQI Ugandans come out and are willing to say “I am LGBTQI”.


Spectrum Uganda’s Sultan Muyomba said that there was a time when he tried to “convince myself that I am not this or this,” he said. Until one day, “I said, I can’t fight myself; it’s like fighting nature.”
It remains hard, Sultan said. One time, for instance, he and a friend had to bribe another “friend” who – upon knowing that they are gay, could have put their lives in danger by blackmailing them.

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“The Ugandan system is broken,” Ruth said, noting that – at times – LGBTQI people are used as scapegoats so people forget how bad the country’s situation is due to government actions/inactions.

Incidentally, Uganda still has numerous “traditional” practices many may find “antiquated” – e.g. during pamamanhikan (that is, when the groom-to-be visits his would-be in-laws), he is not even supposed to see (much more touch) his mother-in-law. The reason? Because he may end up eloping with her, not her daughter.

“But we volunteer, we sacrifice because we’re fighting to survive,” Ruth said.


“Are we hopeful? First of all, the Ugandan LGBTQI movement has done a lot. In 12 years, we (now) have our own clinic, we have our own outspoken advocates, we are providing our own legal services… We’ve done a lot of advocacies that has allowed us to get this far. We’re not the same movement that we were 12 years ago,” Ruth said. “There is hope. We just need to keep pushing. Every day is about pushing.”

Jay seconded Ruth, saying that in 12 years, a lot of change has happened. “The LGBTQI community members stood up to raise their voices.” In fact, “a lot of LGBTQI community has come out and learned to fight for their freedom.”

And to continue this fight, Jay said that the help of other LGBTQI communities (perhaps in other countries) can give them a boost. Having said this, Jay isn’t a big fan of so-called keyboard activists (i.e. those who just “sit back”), but those who come and give them support (even if it’s only to share notes on activism, and how to move forward) are always welcome,” he said. “This strengthens our work and keeps us moving.”

“The LGBTQI community members stood up to raise their voices,” said Jay Mulucha. In fact, “a lot of LGBTQI community has come out and learned to fight for their freedom.”

For those interested to visit Uganda, you may apply for a visa HERE. The visa is also available on-arrival at Entebbe airport. Rates start from $50. Note that only those with yellow fever vaccine are allowed into the country (the yellow fever card will be checked upon arrival).
There is always a threat of civil unrest (particularly 50 km of Uganda’s border with the DRC and to the Karamoja region, and within 50 km of Uganda’s border with South Sudan). Similarly, there are health notices on the Zika virus and Ebola.
Though of course, there, too, is the issue of the treatment of the LGBTQI people, particularly those whose gender expression is not aligned with their assigned sex at birth, just as there are issues with PDAs…

The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) of the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. Though he grew up in Mindanao (particularly Kidapawan and Cotabato City in Maguindanao), even attending Roman Catholic schools there, he "really, really came out in Sydney," he says, so that "I sort of know what it's like to be gay in a developing and a developed world". Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, research (with pioneering studies under his belt)... this one's a multi-tasker, who is even conversant in Filipino Sign Language (FSL). Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism. Cross his path is the dare (read: It won't be boring).

Health & Wellness

8 Tips for promoting men’s health

Here are a few tips that can help ensure the success of men’s health programs.



Photo by Christopher Campbell from

Men tend to shy away from clinical medical services and formal health care programs, leaving community-based programs to help fill the gap. But not all programs are created equal. This is according to a study – “Community-based men’s health promotion programs: eight lessons learnt and their caveats”, which was published in the journal Health Promotion International – that shows that the programs that succeed are those that recognize and adapt to the social forces that uniquely affect men.

So for University of British Columbia (UBC) nursing professor John Oliffe, who led the study that reviewed community-based programs in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK and the US, there are a few tips that can help ensure the success of men’s health programs.

Recognize the forces that affect men’s health: The UBC research points out that social factors can significantly affect health, including race, culture, socioeconomic status, education and income levels. Dudes Club, a program based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, succeeds because its content is tailored to its largely Indigenous clientele. Events include culturally based activities and elder-led circles, and clients are reporting improved mental, spiritual, physical and emotional well-being as a result.

Physical activity builds connections: Activity-based programs that link to masculine ideals such as problem-solving and physical prowess work well. Men’s Sheds, a program that runs in Australia, Canada and a few other countries, successfully attracts men with woodworking activities, computer tutorials, gardening and informal social events.

Safe spaces help men open up: Many men are reticent to talk about health challenges or talk about personal issues, but programs–like prostate cancer support groups–can expand their comfort zone by creating safe spaces for sharing experiences and discussing sensitive topics.

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Knowledge can combat stigma: Many men who are experiencing health challenges like depression or suicidal thoughts lack knowledge about their condition, which further fuels any stigma they may already feel. Community-based programs can promote health literacy and tackle stigma by using simple, non-judgmental language to describe health conditions, Oliffe said.

Men-focused environments work well: No surprise, “men-friendly” community spaces and activities–such as sports events or competitions–work better in recruiting men to health-related programs than strictly clinical programs. Oliffe points to a few examples, including some European soccer clubs, that draw men in to join exercise and healthy eating programs.

A clear vision for the program is a must: Programs must have tangible benefits, clear goals and strong, collaborative leaders. Dads in Gear– developed to assist dads to quit smoking–recruited participants with an offer of free meals and child care. It emphasized the need for participants to actively work for their well-being, and it encouraged the men to independently sustain their healthy practices after completing the program.

Evaluate to perpetuate: Every program should carry out a consistent and formal evaluation process, Oliffe advises. This helps to support future funding efforts and ensures the program is working as well as it should.

Pop-ups’ are OK: And finally, don’t expect to sustain or expand every program, says Oliffe, as some might be best considered “pop-ups”. Once they’ve hit their goal, they can be retired and regarded as the seed for future ideas.

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Health & Wellness

2/3 of parents cite barriers in recognizing youth depression

Teens and preteens are no strangers to depression: 1 in 4 parents say their child knows a peer with depression; 1 in 10 say a child’s peer has committed suicide.



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Telling the difference between a teen’s normal ups and downs and something bigger is among top challenges parents face in identifying youth depression, a new poll suggests.

Though the majority of parents say they are confident they would recognize depression in their middle or high school aged child, two thirds acknowledge barriers to spotting specific signs and symptoms, according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan in the US.

Forty percent of parents struggle to differentiate between normal mood swings and signs of depression, while 30% say their child is good at hiding feelings.

“In many families, the preteen and teen years bring dramatic changes both in youth behavior and in the dynamic between parents and children,” says poll co-director Sarah Clark. “These transitions can make it particularly challenging to get a read on children’s emotional state and whether there is possible depression.”

Still, a third of parents polled said nothing would interfere with their ability to recognize signs of depression in their child.

“Some parents may be overestimating their ability to recognize depression in the mood and behavior of their own child,” Clark says. “An overconfident parent may fail to pick up on the subtle signals that something is amiss.”

The poll also suggests that the topic of depression is all too familiar for middle and high school students. One in four parents say their child knows a peer or classmate with depression, and 1 in 10 say their child knows a peer or classmate who has died by suicide.

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Indeed, rates of youth suicide continue to rise. Among people ages 10 to 24 years old, the suicide rate climbed 56% between 2007 and 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our report reinforces that depression is not an abstract concept for today’s teens and preteens, or their parents,” Clark says.

“This level of familiarity with depression and suicide is consistent with recent statistics showing a dramatic increase in suicide among… youth over the past decade. Rising rates of suicide highlight the importance of recognizing depression in youth.”

Compared to the ratings of their own ability, parents polled were also less confident that their preteens or teens would recognize depression in themselves.

Clark says parents should stay vigilant on spotting any signs of potential depression in kids, which may vary from sadness and isolation to anger, irritability and acting out. Parents might also talk with their preteen or teen about identifying a “go to” adult who can be a trusted source if they are feeling blue, Clark says.

Most parents also believe schools should play a role in identifying potential depression, with seven in 10 supporting depression screening starting in middle school.

“The good news is that parents view schools as a valuable partner in recognizing youth depression,” Clark says.The bad news is that too few schools have adequate resources to screen students for depression, and to offer counseling to students who need it.”

Clark encourages parents to learn whether depression screening is taking place at their child’s school and whether counseling is available for students who screen positive. Given the limited resources in many school districts, parents can be advocates of such efforts by talking to school administrators and school board members about the importance of offering mental health services in schools.

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The Mott Poll report is based on responses from 819 parents with at least one child in middle school, junior high, or high school.

Depression is – of course – an important issue in the LGBTQIA community. One study done in November 2018, for instance, found that half of LGBT people (52%) said they’ve experienced depression in the last year; one in eight LGBT people aged 18-24 (13%) said they’ve attempted to take their own life in the last year; and almost half of trans people (46%) have thought about taking their own life in the last year, 31% of LGB people who aren’t trans said the same.

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Health & Wellness

First case of sexually transmitted dengue confirmed in Spain

Health authorities confirmed a case of a man spreading dengue through sex. This is a world first for a virus which – until recently – was largely thought to be transmitted only by mosquitos.



Photo by Егор Камелев from

No, getting bitten by mosquitos isn’t the only way you can get dengue.

In Spain, health authorities confirmed a case of a man spreading dengue through sex. This is a world first for a virus which – until recently – was largely thought to be transmitted only by mosquitos.

The case involves a 41-year-old man from Madrid who contracted dengue after having sex with his male partner, who got the virus from a mosquito bite during a trip to Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

When the man’s dengue infection was confirmed in September, it puzzled doctors because he had not traveled to a country where the disease is common. An analysis of the sperm of the two men was carried out and it revealed that not only did they have dengue, but that it was exactly the same virus which circulates in Cuba.

Dengue is transmitted mainly by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which grows in number in densely-populated tropical climates, such as the Philippines.

Though it kills 10,000 people a year and infects over 100 million, the disease is fatal only in extreme cases, though symptoms are extremely unpleasant, including high fever, severe headaches and vomiting. It is particularly serious – and deadly – in children.

In the Philippines, the Department of Health reported a total of 271,480 dengue cases from January to August 31 this year, prompting it to declare a national dengue epidemic. As of end-August, an estimated 1,107 people have died of dengue in the country.

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Gay in space in Disney’s ‘Star Wars Resistance’ kids’ show

This isn’t the first time an animated series highlighted LGBTQIA people/relationships; arguably even more progressive than mainstream Hollywood fare.



Viewers sort of knew it all along, and then Disney confirmed that two characters on its “Star War Resistance” animated series for children are indeed a “gay couple.” 

On the Coffee with Kenobi podcast, Disney executive producers Brandon Auman, Athena Portillo, and Justin Ridge said that they are “proud” that two characters, Orka and Flix, are a “gay couple.” 

When Ridge was asked about the link between the two characters, he said: “I think it’s safe to say they’re an item… They’re absolutely a gay couple and we’re proud of that.” 

Orka is voiced by Jim Rash, while Flix is voiced by Bobby Moynihan.

Moynihan said later on the same podcast that he was glad to speak openly about Orka’s tendencies. 

“I have had a sentence prepared for a year and a half,” he said. “If someone would finally ask me, I would say, ‘All I can say is that when Flix says I love you, Orka says I know.’ … They’re the cutest.”

Orka and Flix are non-human, but fans assumed that they are homosexual. In an episode titled Dangerous Business, in the first season of “Star Wars Resistance“, there was a moment perceived to reveal the pair’s proclivities. 

The show is now in its second and final season on October 6, after getting nominated for an Emmy last year for outstanding children’s program.

This isn’t the first time an animated series highlighted LGBTQIA people/relationships; arguably even more progressive than mainstream Hollywood fare.

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In August, the new Aquaman, Kaldur, in the animated “Young Justice: Outsiders”, DC Universe’s animated show about teenage superheroes, was revealed to be LGBTQIA.

And in 2018, “Steven Universe”, a series from Cartoon Network, showcased a lesbian marriage proposal between two out queer characters in a special July 4 episode.

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Surrounded by art

Heading to Niagara Falls in NY in the US? The waterfalls may be the main attraction;buut there’s more to see in Niagara Falls than the body of water. Go IG crazy with a quick visit at Art Alley NF.



When heading to Niagara Falls in the state of New York in the US, the three waterfalls at the southern end of Niagara Gorge (between the Ontario, Canada and, yes, the US state of New York) may be the main attraction. This isn’t exactly surprising; heck, everyone who saw 1980’s Superman (before he got grumpy and too dark – even if he stayed yummy – with DC’s re-imagining of the alien boy scout) will want to see the… grandeur of the location. For that matter, Hollywood has repeatedly “told” us (via the likes of 2003’s Bruce Almighty, 2014’s Tammy, 2016’s After the Sun Fell, and 2016’s The American Side) that it’s a must-visit.

When you get there, though, it is but… a body of water.

Sure, it is grand. Perhaps made even grander by the power of illumination, with the waterfalls enveloped in various colors when the sun sets. But truth be told, there’s more to see in Niagara Falls than just the body of water.

Case in point: Art Alley NF.

Located a few minutes from Niagara Falls State Park, Art Alley NF is a public mural project located at 425 Third Street in Niagara Falls, NY.

Credit for its development goes to Seth Piccirillo, the city’s community development director, and Rob Lynch, one of Niagara Falls High School’s art teachers. The two established the roadside inlet in 2016 to house 19 murals from local artists.

Think of San Francisco’s Clarion Alley, and you’d get the idea of what this is. Sans the angst, political activism, et cetera…

The location used to be a vacant lot blocked by a wall. It was blasted down by the city’s Department of Community Development to make way for a walkway lined with the murals.

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Street art enthusiasts ought to like this; or at least IG aficionados.

Though I say that again, when in Niagara Falls, NY in the US, don’t just stick to the body of water (you can check this in a just a day); instead, be surrounded by art with a quick visit to Art Alley NF.

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Health & Wellness

Improved support after self-harm needed to reduce suicide risk

To reduce the high risk of suicide after hospital attendance for self-harm, improved clinical management is needed for all patients – including comprehensive assessment of the patients’ mental state, needs, and risks, as well as implementation of risk reduction strategies, including safety planning.



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Risk of suicide following hospital presentation for self-harm is very high immediately following hospital discharge, emphasising the need for provision of early follow-up care and attention to risk reduction strategies

To reduce the high risk of suicide after hospital attendance for self-harm, improved clinical management is needed for all patients – including comprehensive assessment of the patients’ mental state, needs, and risks, as well as implementation of risk reduction strategies, including safety planning.

The results are from an observational study spanning 16 years and including almost 50,000 people from five English hospitals, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.

“The peak in risk of suicide which follows immediately after discharge from hospital underscores the need for provision of early and effective follow-up care. Presentation to hospital for self-harm offers an opportunity for intervention, yet people in are often discharged from hospital having not received a formal assessment of their problems and needs, and without specific aftercare arrangements. As specified in national guidance, a comprehensive assessment of the patients’ mental state, needs, and risks is essential to devise an effective plan for their follow-up care,” says study author Dr. Galit Geulayov, Centre for Suicide Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, UK.

It has been estimated that every year there are approximately 200,000 presentations to emergency departments in hospitals across England following acts of non-fatal self-harm. Self-harm is associated with increased mortality, especially by suicide. Approximately 50% of individuals who die by suicide have a history of self-harm, with hospital presentation for self-harm often occurring shortly before suicide.

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The new study compared the risk of suicide following hospital presentation for self-harm according to patient characteristics, method of self-harm, and socioeconomic deprivation. It also estimated the incidence of suicide by time after hospital attendance, adjusting for gender, age, previous self-harm, and psychiatric treatment.

The study included 49,783 people aged over 15 years who presented to hospital after non-fatal self-harm a total of 90,614 times between 2000-2013. The authors followed these patients for 16 years (until the end of 2015), and the study included five hospitals (one in Oxford, three in Manchester and one in Derby).

Within the 16 year follow up, 703 out of 49,783 people died by suicide – with the incidence of suicide being 163 per 100,000 people per year.

Around a third of these deaths occurred within a year of the patient attending hospital for non-fatal self-harm (36%, 252/703 deaths), and the study confirmed the high risk of suicide in the first year after presentation to hospital for self-harm (the incidence of suicide in the year following discharge from hospital was 511 suicides per 100,000 people per year – 55.5 times higher than that of the general population).

The authors found that risk was particularly elevated in the first month (the incidence of suicide in the month following discharge from hospital was 1,787 per 100,000 people per year – close to 200 times higher than in the general population) – with 74 out of 703 people in the study dying by suicide within a month.

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The authors note that men were more likely to die by suicide following hospital presentation of self-harm than women, people who attended hospital more than once for non-fatal self-harm were more likely to die by suicide than those with a single presentation, and age was associated with risk (with risk increasing 3% with each year of age).

In addition, those who lived in less deprived areas had a higher risk of death by suicide than those who lived in the most deprived areas, but this contrasts with a large body of evidence and might be explained by higher rates of psychiatric disorders in this group in this study – more research is needed. The authors also note that some forms of self-harm were more strongly linked to subsequent suicide, but advise against including detail of this kind in media reporting.

Suicide is a big issue in the LGBTQIA community. In 2018, for instance, a study found that a total of 37% of trans respondents reported having seriously considered suicide during the past 12 months and 32% had ever attempted a suicide. Offensive treatment during the past three months and lifetime exposure to trans-related violence were significantly associated with suicidality.

A study published in LGBT Health in 2016, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of strengthening family support and acceptance as part of a positive intervention.

The authors of this newer study note that holistic assessment of risk factors is required, and warn that no single characteristic will help predict later suicide.

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“While awareness of characteristics which increase the risk of subsequent suicide can assist as part of this assessment, previous studies indicate that individual factors related to self-harm are a poor means to evaluate the risk of future suicide. These factors need to be considered together, followed by risk reduction strategies, including safety planning, for all patients,” says Professor Hawton, Centre for Suicide Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, UK.

The authors note that their study focuses on three cities in England and the findings may not necessarily apply to the whole of the country.

Writing in a linked comment, Dr. Annette Erlangsen, Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention, Denmark, notes that there is a range of treatment options available following presentation of self-harm in emergency departments (including referrals to psychiatric wards after psychosocial assessments, outpatient treatment for patients not under immediate risk of self-harming, and – in some countries – specialized suicide prevention clinics) but many countries send patients home with a referral to their GP or do not refer at all.

She says: “The bottom line is–while the body of evidence of effective intervention is growing, we need to help people who present with self-harm. Operating in such a scenario is challenging but the numbers are clear; we need to ensure that patients receive support immediately when presenting and implement a continuation of care after discharge.”

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