Focus: Communications - Site Visit -

Tony Hodson

The National Children's Bureau runs its young people and self-harm website as a source of information and support for young people who self-harm and their friends and families.

The number of unique visitors to the website each month has risen from 2,654 in August 2004 to 10,500 in March 2006. With demand increasing, the NCB relaunched the site last month.

Main pages

In an attempt to appeal to young people, the homepage is designed in the form of a diary set against the background of a wooden desk. This doesn't work particularly well, although in terms of layout and navigability the site does a good job.

As well as a main menu bar, which provides a clear list of the principal sections, the site's homepage usefully includes links to its most popular pages. It's no coincidence that these come from the 'information on self-harm' section - a simple but enlightening journey through the background of a very sensitive and often misunderstood issue.

Special features

'Your section' is undoubtedly the highlight of the new site. Although there are few entries as yet, the experiences that have been submitted give a real insight into what it's like to be a self-harmer.

For friends and families desperate to offer support to young people who engage in self-harm, it's perhaps the most valuable resource the site has to offer.

The National Children's Bureau says:

"There is a need for information because self-harmers and those who care about them often do not know where to turn. We welcome personal experiences that can be posted on the site to help others in similar situations. It can be comforting to young people who self-harm to know that they are not alone."

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