If tonight, you’re closer to the edge of something. Step back!

New Years eve can be a time of reflection. Some of us are able to look forward to the year ahead feeling positive and excited. Some of us are not that fortunate and New Year’s Eve may be a time of mourning or regret, or often fear and turmoil.

For those of you who are closer to the edge, maybe questioning your existence or future, more likely to self harm or worse, drink more than is helpful, or choose aloneness over comfort- take time to slow those choices. Ask for help or support, or just keep on keeping on. Things can always change and always improve with the right help and support.

And for those reading this who are feeling positive and happy, take time to notice those that aren’t because a moment of kindness in someone’s darkest hour can get them through a lifetime.

All the best for a safe and healthy 2014 from everyone at Harmless and the Tomorrow Project!

Research study in collaboration with Nottingham University and Harmless

The problem of self-harm among young people in care is to be tackled as part of a new research project being led by The University of Nottingham.

The study will offer 11 to 18 year olds living in either residential care homes or with foster carers and care leavers the chance to speak out about why they self-harm and will attempt to identify any common themes which led them to this behaviour.

The project will also aim to highlight services or support which is particularly successful in helping looked-after young people who self-harm in their recovery. The research results will be used in the future to inform the development of improved health and social services.

Dr Ellen Townsend, in the University’s School of Psychology, is leading the research. She said: “Self-harm is a serious sign of emotional distress and is still relatively poorly understood by academics and clinicians. Significant NHS resources are required to deal with the assessment and management of self-harm.

“Each year approximately 200,000 episodes of self-harm are seen in general hospitals in England and Wales and many more hidden episodes occur in the community.

“This is very worrying because self-harm is the strongest predictor of eventual suicide and each suicide significantly affects many other individuals. Looked-after young people are at particularly high-risk of self-harmful behaviour yet there is sparse research targeting this group.

“The study is called the Listen-up! project because we know that many young people who self-harm do not feel listened to. This is why our advisory group will be made up of young people who have experience of self-harm and being in care. We want to give voice to their experiences using robust psychological methods which can increase our understanding of self-harm and inform the development of suitable supports and services for this behaviour. We would like to invite young people interested in being on our advisory board to get in touch with me via email for more information about this (ellen.townsend@nottingham.ac.uk).”

The young people — and their carers — will be interviewed about their experiences of self-harming and will also take part in a series of computer-based interviews which will allow researchers to track their self-harm and trends in their behaviour and recovery over a longer period of time. The computer-based interviews allow young people who struggle with reading to take part as they will hear the questions via headphones and indicate their response with a mouse click. This method also enhances privacy and increases disclosure about sensitive topics like self-harm.

The project, which will run until 2016 has been funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme research initiative to support the implementation of the new Suicide Prevention Strategy for England.

The project will involve collaboration with an advisory group of young people and colleagues at the Institute of Mental Health (a partnership between The University of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust), the University of Leicester, a national user-led support service Harmless, leading national mental health charity YoungMinds, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Social Care Services.

Christmas isn’t an easy time; offer help and support

Christmas isn’t an easy time for everyone. While some of us are celebrating with our families, others are suffering, often in silence. People can feel isolated at this time of year, alone, or because this time of year is a time of reflection, can feel mournful and sad. It’s important to notice people around you and how they’re feeling. Often it’s not the grand gestures that can make a difference to how someone is feeling but the simple things- a phone call or text, a hug and a chat.

Often people don’t know what to do when faced with someone who is struggling, but it’s simple, just be for there for them. Notice they’re feelings and don’t be afraid to ask how they’re doing, but most of all just make sure you make time for them.

Christmas can be especially hard for those with emotional health difficulties, people who have experienced huge loss in their life, or who self harm. These things can improve with time with the right help and support.

Never lose hope, and hoping everyone makes it through this time of year safe and well.

Self harm four times more likely in female prisoners and a key indicator of suicide risk

Self-harm is a serious issue for women in prison, who make up only 5% of the prison population but account for half of all self-harm incidents, say Oxford University researchers.

According to a study in The Lancet, nearly a quarter of female prisoners cut, scratch or poison themselves.

Self-harm was also found to be a strong risk factor for suicide in prison, particularly among men.

Experts say more should be done to reduce self-harm rates in prisons.

The Oxford research team looked at self-harm incidents in all prisons in England and Wales between 2004 and 2009.

It found that 5% to 6% of male prisoners and 20% to 24% of female prisoners deliberately harmed themselves every year, resulting in 20,000 to 25,000 incidents per year.

This compared with a 0.6% rate among the UK’s general population.

Suicide risk

Repeated self-harming was common, the study said, and a small group of 102 women inmates self-harmed more than 100 times a year.

Cutting and scratching were the most frequent methods of self-harming in men and women, followed by poisoning and overdosing.

The study also examined those at greatest risk of self-harm. In female prisoners, being younger than 20 years old, white, in a mixed local prison, or serving a life sentence were major factors.

In male prisoners, those at risk tended to be young, white, in a high-security prison and with a life sentence or unsentenced.

Prisoners who self-harmed were found to be at “substantially greater” risk of suicide than other inmates, particularly among men.

Older male prisoners (aged 30 to 49) with a history of serious self-harm were most at risk.

Dr Seena Fazel, joint study author from the department of psychiatry at the University of Oxford, said all prisoners who are self-harming should be regarded as a risk.

“Now we know the extent to which the risk of subsequent suicide in prisoners who self-harm is greater than the general population, suicide prevention initiatives should be changed to include a focus on prisoners who are self-harming, especially repeatedly.”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Harmless and The Tomorrow Project

After a busy and successful year at Harmless and The Tomorrow Project, the staff are having two weeks off so we can prepare for what we hope will be an even better 2014.

Harmless and The Tomorrow Project would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have helped and supported us during the past year. With your ongoing kindness and generosity, we hope to achieve much more in the upcoming year as we aim to save more lives and continue provide support those who self harm, and their friends and families.

So from all of us here….. We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Our services will resume from Monday 6th January 2014.

See you in 2014.

The Tomorrow Project, Reaching out through issues of self harm and suicide

Life Vs Suicide – There’s No Replay

The Tomorrow Project , in partnership with nationally renowned self harm organisation, Harmless, is a confidential suicide prevention project set up to respond to community needs around the issue of suicide.

In June 2013, the project was commissioned in Nottingham City to provide workshops, drop ins and informal support sessions across a variety of settings including schools, colleges and community groups to respond to prevent or protect against suicide. These sessions can be tailored to meet the needs of your community from specific work around self harm and suicide to emotional health, well being and developing resilience.

We also provide specific postvention if a suicide has occurred recognising the importance of targeted and timely support and intervention following such a devastating event.
To find out more please have a look at our website at: tomorrowproject.org.uk or to arrange a meeting please contact us on 0115 9348445. The project has been commissioned on a short term basis so if you would like to benefit from these services, please contact us as soon as possible.


Self Harm Drop In for Adults (18+)

Harmless will host the next self harm drop in session on Wednesday 8th January 2014.

If you are 18 or over, and would like support for yourself,  a friend or family member then feel free to come along. Our trained therapists will be on hand to offer information or advice about any concerns you may have about self harm.

All drop ins will take place at the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service building, 7 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB

If you would like further information please email info@harmless.org.uk
Please see below for future drop in dates:
  • Wednesday 8th January 14:30-15:30 – Adult drop in (Ages 18+)
  • Wednesday 5th February 14:30-15:30 – Young Person’s drop in (Ages 11-21)
  • Wednesday 5th March 14:30-15:30 – Adult drop in (Ages 18+)
  • Wednesday 2nd April 14:30-15:30 – Young Person’s drop in (Ages 11-21)

Do you know someone who self harms? Do you self harm and are not sure where to go for help? Then make a change today and contact Harmless. We know that with the right help and support, life can get better.

Do you know someone that self harms? Do you self harm and are not sure where to go for help? Then make a change today and contact Harmless. We know that with the right help and support, life can get better.

Harmless are a specialist service and its team can provide helpful information about self harm or help you get therapeutic support. We can also work collaboratively with any other services who you are involved with to support you or the person you know. The Harmless team are experienced in working with those who self harm or  those who have a friend or family member who self harm.

For more information about our services you can email info@harmless.org.uk or phone 01159 348445.

Workshops to challenge stigma about mental health, self harm and the impact of suicide delivered in Nottingham schools

Over the last 2 weeks, staff from the Tomorrow Project have delivered emotional health and well being workshops to 150 Year 9 students at a Nottingham school. The workshops have focused on challenging stigma about mental health problems, self harm and the impact of suicide and how to stay emotionally healthy and support others to do the same. The feedback from the sessions has been consistently positive, with students engaging fully in all of the activities.  Alongside this, staff sessions have also been undertaken concentrating on working with young people who self harm and hopefully building confidence in this vital area of student support. These packages have been designed as part of the Tomorrow Project’s city work as a way to start the conversation about suicide prevention and promoting emotional resilience.

More of this essential work will be rolled out next year

Donate to Self Harm service this Christmas

Harmless is launching their Christmas appeal to help vital self harm and suicide prevention work continue.

Instead of sending cards this year why not give a gift and help save a life?

However much you can give will be greatly appreciated. Just go to the website to make a donation www.harmless.org.uk/store/Christmas_Appeal_2013

All donations we receive will go towards the delivery of projects and services that help save people’s lives.

Thank you and Merry Christmas!