The Royal College of Psychiatrists has said in a new report that people who self-harm are not getting adequate help because of lack of trained staff on the NHS.
The report looked at prevailing standard of care for people at risk of suicide and self-harm and made recommendations to improve care.
"Overall the evidence painted a bleak picture of standards of care in UK hospitals. This situation is unacceptable by any reasonable standard. Lives may be at stake," said John Alderdice, consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy in Northern Ireland, who chaired the working group that produced the report.
A Department of Health spokesperson said that the government was looking at ways to improve access to care for such people.