What is the SASH Research Project?

Second Tumblr post booksOverview

The SASH Research Project is a social research project which explored what young people aged 14-16 have to say about self-harm, drug and alcohol use.

Between March 2013 and April 2014 we spoke to young people in Edinburgh, UK to find out their views on, and any experiences of, self-harm, drug and alcohol use. We will be trying to answer a lot of different questions:

  • What do young people think about why people self-harm, or use drugs and alcohol?
  • Do young people see self-harm, drug and alcohol use as similar or different activities?

The project was especially interested in talking to young people living in very different circumstances: young people living in areas where many people have little money; and young people living in areas where most people have plenty money.

  • Do young people living in different circumstances have different ideas, experiences and views on self-harm, drug and alcohol use?

The project looked at these questions by holding some group discussions with young people living in different areas; and carrying out one-to-one interviews with young people aged 14-16 who have self-harmed, or who use drugs and alcohol.

From January to March 2014 there was also an online survey open to anyone aged 14-16, who has ever self-harmed, used drugs or alcohol. This means that if you would rather not do a face to face interview, or you live too far away, you could still take part and have your say.

Why are you doing the SASH Project?

We know quite a lot about what adults think about self-harm, drugs and alcohol, but we don’t know a lot about what young people under 16 think about these things. However, lots of adults who have problems with self-harm, drugs or alcohol first tried them out when they were under 16.

We also don’t know much about young people’s views on the relationship between self-harm, drugs and alcohol (if any). Adults sometimes have the same kinds of explanations for doing self-harm, drugs and alcohol. Things like: “they are addictive and hard to stop”; “they help me cope with life”; “I enjoy them”. Also, some other research has found that people who use drugs or alcohol might have worse problems with self-harm. Other studies find this is not the case. No studies have looked at what young people under 16 think.

The SASH Project is what is called an ‘exploratory’ project. We don’t think we will get all the answers, but we might be able to come up with some ideas.

The SASH Project is also committed to involving young people in research that is about them. We think it is important that young people under 16 have a say about self-harm, drugs and alcohol. Lots of things that are said about self-harm, drugs and alcohol is based on what people over 16 (often over 18) have said. The SASH project wants to find out what people 16 and under have to say about these things.

Other important details

The research project is being run by Amy Chandler, a sociologist and researcher at the University of Edinburgh.

The project is funded by the Sir Halley Stewart Trust Fund.

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