Harmless client reaches half way of her fundraising target

In April, one of Harmless’ brave clients is cycling from London to Paris to raise funds for Harmless and the Tomorrow Project. For the first time, she is speaking out about her own personal experiences in a bid to reduce stigma about self harm and suicide and to get people talking about mental health.

Deborah and her husband will cycle 300 miles, from London to Paris, in 4 days. With April approaching, half of the target has been raised, but we still have a long way to go if we want to smash the target of £500!

Follow and share this link:https://localgiving.com/fundraising/hamrlesslondon2paris to find out more, or to make a donation.

Why is fundraising important?

Harmless is an organisation that was set up by people who understand self harm. It provides services for self harm including: support: information: training & consultancy to people who self harm, their friends & families & professionals.

Harmless now deliver a range of services. They previously delivered these under contract with Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust but these funds were lost due to the financial cuts. However, they still deliver monthly drop in sessions where people can get support and information about self harm and they offer one to one therapy sessions.

The Tomorrow Project is a suicide prevention project that has been set up to support individuals & communities to prevent suicide.

Deborah said:

“I battled with self harm and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)for 4 years. NHS services were unable to provide any support for me and I was left in a downward spiral of self destruction. By extensive support and care from Caroline Harroe and Harmless I have managed to rebuild my life and see a positive future for myself. Without the support from Harmless I would not be where I am today, I owe my life to this fantastic organisation.

My family and I would be hugely grateful if you would support us in our challenge to raise much needed funds and awareness for Harmless”

The risk of suicide or serious self harm

If a friend or family member tells you that he or she is thinking about death or suicide, it’s important to evaluate the immediate danger the person is in. Those at the highest risk for committing suicide in the near future have a specific suicide PLAN, the MEANS to carry out the plan, a TIME SET for doing it, and an INTENTION to do it.

Level of Suicide Risk
Low — Some suicidal thoughts. No suicide plan. Says he or she won’t commit suicide.

Moderate — Suicidal thoughts. Vague plan that isn’t very lethal. Says he or she won’t commit suicide.

High — Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she won’t commit suicide.

Severe — Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she will commit suicide.

The following questions can help you assess the immediate risk for suicide:

Do you have a suicide plan? (PLAN)
Do you have what you need to carry out your plan (pills, gun, etc.)? (MEANS)
Do you know when you would do it? (TIME SET)
Do you intend to commit suicide? (INTENTION)
If a suicide attempt seems imminent, call a local crisis center, dial 999, or take the person to an emergency room. Remove guns, drugs, knives, and other potentially lethal objects from the vicinity but do not, under any circumstances, leave a suicidal person alone.

Harmless to speak at the self harm and suicidal behaviour in adolescence conference in Bristol

Tomorrow, representatives from Harmless will be attending the ‘self harm and suicidal behaviour in adolescence’ research day at the University of Bristol.  The aim of the day is to showcase research, identify unsolved research questions, foster collaborations and share experiences.

The event will provide an important opportunity for our organisation to promote our work on a national level.  A member of our team, Satveer, will be speaking at the event to talk about self harm from a service user perspective.  As part of her presentation, Satveer will also inform professionals from across the country that our clinical interventions are not only effective, but that people who access our service show a statistically significant improvement in  the rate and severity of self harm; hopefulness, life satisfaction and relationships; and active suicidal planning.  This is something we are immensely proud about and we feel it is important people hear about it.

Although we are based in Nottingham, Harmless is not just a local project; we continue to positively influence the field of self harm on a national level. Attending conferences, such as the one tomorrow, gives us a platform to achieve our aims of becoming a leading voice in the field and ultimately changing the lives of people who access our service, regardless of location, for the better.




Tomorrow Project and Harmless representatives discuss self harm and suicide prevention at a Nottingham school

Representatives from Harmless and The Tomorrow Project met with students and professionals during the mental health week on a Nottingham campus sharing information regarding our services. Students and professionals were given details about  the focus of the Tomorrow Project, being self harm and suicide prevention, raising awareness and reducing the stigma attached to mental health issues.

As a specialist and responsive service we offer informal support, drop-ins and training for professionals and carers. The key message communicated related to the accessibility and responsiveness of the service where we respond to identified areas of risk.

This was a great opportunity to network with professionals of other organisations who work with people with mental health issues, sharing our experience of suicide and self harm prevention and discussing the referral pathway into the service. Also meeting with students who had an opportunity to ask questions or share their experiences relating to issues of self harm or suicidal thoughts.

To contact Harmless or The Tomorrow Project, please refer to the websites:




Research into self harm and young people

Tonight Harmless hosted a self harm advisory group of young people, to support the research project: Listen Up!

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

The study is offering 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.

The advisory group exists to support this research project and is comprised of young people who have a shared interest in improving services for young people that self harm and have their own histories of self harm. The meeting went well, and helped to advise and inform the research team in the driving the research forwards.

We are now looking to speak to young people over the age of 11, that have experience of self harm, to take part in the research study. The main criteria at this stage, is that the young people have no involvement of health services. Do you know someone who might want to take part or find out more and get involved? If so, you can email Harmless on info@harmless.org.uk or ellen.townsend@nottingham.ac.uk for more information.

Taking part in this research on self harm is absolutely vital if we are to improve services for young people that self harm, especially developing our understanding of looked after children and self harm. Together we can find solutions to the growing problem of self harm, so please get involved!

Types and signs of self-harm

Types and signs of self-harm

There are many different ways people can intentionally harm themselves, such as:
cutting or burning their skin
punching themselves
poisoning themselves with tablets
misusing alcohol or drugs
deliberately starving themselves (anorexia nervosa) or binge eating (bulimia nervosa)
People often try to keep self-harm a secret because of shame or fear of discovery. For example, they may cover up their skin and avoid discussing the problem.
Therefore, it is often up to close family and friends to notice when somebody is self-harming, and to approach the subject with care and understanding. The signs may include unexplained injuries and signs of depression or low self-esteem.
Someone who is self-harming can seriously hurt themself, so it is important that they speak to someone about the underlying issue and request treatment or therapy that is likely to help them.

You can contact harmless on info@harmless.org.uk

Why do people self-harm?

Why do people self-harm?

Self-harm is more common than many people realise, especially among younger people. A survey of people aged 15-16 years carried out in the UK in 2002 estimated that more than 10% of girls and more than 3% of boys had self-harmed in the previous year.
In most cases, people who self-harm do it to help them cope with unbearable and overwhelming emotional issues, caused by problems such as:
social factors – such as being bullied, having difficulties at work or school, or having difficult relationships with friends or family trauma – such as physical or sexual abuse, or the death of a close family member or friend mental health conditions – such as depression or borderline personality disorder.
These issues can lead to a build-up of intense feelings of anger, hopelessness and self-hatred.
Although some people who self-harm are at a high risk of ending their lives, many people who self-harm do not want to end their lives. In fact, the self-harm may help them cope with emotional distress so they don’t feel the need to kill themselves.

Self-harm: 10% of NI children have injured themselves

One in ten young people in Northern Ireland have self-harmed, according to a study by Glasgow University and the Northern Ireland Department of Health.

More than 3,500 schoolchildren were interviewed for the survey.

Past exposure to years of conflict and the emergence of social media are new associated risk factors, it said.

Bullying, sexual, physical, alcohol and drug abuse have also been blamed. Rates of mental disorders are among the highest in Europe.

The rate of self-harm reported by young people was lower than elsewhere in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

‘Result of conflict’

However, the lower rate, according to the research, was unexpected given that the rates of hospital-treated self-harm are high in Northern Ireland while the rates of mental disorders are among the highest in Europe.

Researchers believe that the discrepancy is due to the fact that as a result of the conflict, young people in Northern Ireland are more reluctant to disclose personal information, masking the true extent of the problem.

Prof Rory O’Connor, chair in health psychology at the University of Glasgow, said: “These findings highlight the wide range of risk factors associated with self-harm.

“They also suggest that the emotional and psychological legacy of the Northern Ireland conflict, as well as the influence of new technologies, are associated with self-harm among adolescents in Northern Ireland – and need to be addressed.

“It is important to note that more research is required before we are able to fully understand the full legacy of the Northern Ireland conflict, as well as the influence of new technologies on the mental well being of our youth.”

Have your say on mental health services in Nottingham

NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is asking people to have their say on how NHS funds should be spent on adult mental health services in the City.

As a service that represents people that self harm, or the carers of people that self harm, or those experiencing suicide or suicidality we would ask that you find five minutes to give your perspective on services in this area.

A survey has been developed to give people, carers and the wider public the opportunity to say how current mental health services could be improved and what they feel is important for future service planning. To access the surveys, click on the following links, or visit www.nottinghamcityvoices.org:

Service users survey: http://www.surveys.nottinghamcity.nhs.uk/snapwebhost/surveylogin.asp?k=139472520126

Carers survey: http://www.surveys.nottinghamcity.nhs.uk/snapwebhost/surveylogin.asp?k=139472523792

Professionals / Providers survey: http://www.surveys.nottinghamcity.nhs.uk/snapwebhost/surveylogin.asp?k=139472522086

An estimated one in four adults will experience mental health issues at some point in their lives – ranging from serious mental illness to common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Mental health conditions can be highly disabling and impact on working, social and family life.

Feedback from the surveys will form part of a review of existing adult community mental health services and help the CCG in its commissioning of a range of services from April 2015 that:

are accessible to all, including groups within the population who currently find services difficult to use for cultural reasons or because they do not meet their needs
have an emphasis on supporting recovery and promoting independence (safely)
consider each individual’s physical health needs as equally important to their mental health needs
promote seamless referral process, both within and between services

Members of the public who have not used mental health services before are also invited to contribute to find out more about the services available and give feedback on what they think may be missing.

I would be grateful if you could promote this activity within your groups and encourage people to contribute. Please feel free to circulate this email, and the survey links, as widely as possible.

The Harmless team go back to school to discuss self harm

The Harmless team are in South Yorkshire today to deliver some workshops to around 80 students aged 14-15 years about self harm and well being.

As part of the day, some of our team will be returning to their former school to talk to the students  about their personal stories. Our team hope that talking about their individual journeys will  inspire the students to remain hopeful regardless of their difficulties, and put across the message that with the right help and support life can get better.

The work we do in schools is vital as rates among young people are at an all time high, with estimates of up to a third of 11-19 year olds having engaged with some self harming activity during this time.  Although we are based in Nottingham, we deliver many PSHE lessons for students aged 11+ across the country and find that they are a really successful way of developing awareness of self harm amongst young people and their per groups.

Other benefits include:

·         Reduced stigma and misconception around self harm.

·         Allaying fears and reducing the risk of bullying and ostracisation amongst peers.

·         Informs young people on how to seek help and therefore enhances early intervention opportunities.

For more information about our work in schools and colleges, please email training@harmless.org.uk or call 01159 348445 (admin line only).