The South Asia Self Harm Initiative

Global Challenge Research Fund: South Asia Self Harm research capability building Initiative (GCRF-SASHI)

SASHI formed in late 2015 as a collaboration led by the Centre for Mental Health and Society at Bangor University. It is a partnership between academics working in Mysore and Karachi and UK academics in Bangor, Manchester and Oxford Universities. The purpose of the GCRF-SASHI project is to help to find effective responses to deliberate self-harm and suicide in South Asia by building research infrastructure and expertise in India and Pakistan. This will allow each country to build a body of evidence to facilitate the development of culturally relevant and effective interventions, both social and medical.


  • Deliberate Self-harm is amongst the top 25 leading causes of global death
  • Rates of Deliberate Self-harm (DSH) are high in south Asia, particularly in rural settings
  • The economic burden of DSH is both direct (family costs of treatment, lost income due to death and disability) and indirect (significant social costs)
  • Reducing suicide mortality is a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator

Intended Impact of the project

  • To create a sustainable legacy of continuing value for individual practitioners and academics, and for policy formation
  • To create a platform built around hospital and primary care DSH registers, and household surveys
  • To facilitate the collection of new empirical evidence in each country on the prevalence, antecedents & outcomes of DSH
  • To better understand what affects help seeking behaviour in South Asia
  • To identify causal factors that are amenable to intervention
  • To help develop new service models & action plans based on local evidence
  • To make extensive use of train-the-trainer models and experiential training
  • To enhance the skill set of local academic communities
  • To develop and disseminate a tool kit for establishing DSH registers in low and middle income countries
  • To develop a strong social media presence through an Impact Lead in each country
  • Ultimately, to contribute to a reduction in the rates of DSH in South Asia