Harmless director reflects on returning to her old school to support current students with self harm, suicide and emotional wellbeing

‘In the past month I have had the tremendous privilege of returning to my old secondary school in a professional capacity, in order to support them and their students with self harm, suicide and emotional wellbeing.

It is a long time since I went to school and how times have changed! When I
attended school, I was a conundrum to staff. A high achiever, I always
performed well, so they found it difficult to relate to the emotional
baggage that accompanied me and especially, the self harm that came too.
Now, as a qualified therapist and the Manager of Harmless I have the ability
and opportunity to work with schools to assist in educating them on these
issues in order to help them to help their young people better.

Unlike 15-20 years ago, my old school is now taking assertive measures to
protect their young people against their emotional trials and invited
Harmless in to deliver a range of sessions to students about emotional
wellbeing and self harm. I also spent some time with several students who
were struggling and need additional support. This is always a very moving
part of my job; I get to hear such painful stories of young people who feel
that they haven’t got any help and it is my job to help find some solution
to that. Most of all, it is my job to ensure that young people are able to
see a future and have hope beyond where they find themselves now. This is
not always easy – but I always try to let them know that struggle and self
harm is not forever, with the right help.

Having the opportunity to work at my secondary school when so many years
have passed has been an unusual experience on a personal level, but on a
professional one, has been a great opportunity. Congratulations should be
made to this school and others that take the same approach – of wanting to
help their young people; to reach out to them and teach them skills that
will help them through in spite of their own apprehensions an fears.

I look forwards to many more years of work of this nature, where, in the
context of often great suffering, we are always able to reach people and
make changes and move away from self harm and suicide.

Caroline Harroe, Director.’

Tomorrow Project present suicide prevention strategies to Nottingham Healthcare Trust

Harmless Personnel have presented the strategies of the Tomorrow Project within Nottingham City boundaries, and the UK reach of Harmless CIC to Nottingham Healthcare Trust staff.

Details of the self harm and suicide prevention work of the Tomorrow Project was shared and an opportunity was also given for staff members to become familiar with the clinical, support and consultative work undertaken by the team within Harmless.

Segments of the Harmless DVD provided a poignant representation of the experience of individuals who have been at risk of self harm and suicidal thoughts.  Equally the views of a psychologist working within this field highlighted the importance of working sensitively with the needs each person as they approach mental health services for support.

The clinical work of Harmless was of specific interest to the Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust staff members and the flexible and proactive approach of our service was promoted.

For further information  please refer to the websites:





300 miles cycled to raise money for self harm and suicide prevention projects

Deborah has cycled 300 miles from London to Paris to raise money for Harmless and the Tomorrow Project. She let us know how it was going on her travels:

Day One:  100 miles from London to Calais, got 2 bed at 11pm- shattered. Up again at 6.30 for Day 2: 71 miles from Calais to Abbeville. Described as ‘undulating’ – your not kidding! But lots of fast fun descents to match the uphill slogs & a lovely lunch stop by a lake. Gorgeous weather, beautiful scenery- didn’t want to stop at the end. Only another 130 miles to go to Paris!

Day Two: Today should have been a ride in the park, easy 55 miles into Paris right? Wrong! Strong winds & torrential rain for 50 miles brought us close to hypothermia. 5 punctures in 20 miles, too cold to stop for food & a knackered knee tested my reserve to the limit. Sheer stubbornness got me through it. At the holding point, the rain stopped. 158 of us were escorted onto the champs Elysee bringing Paris to a stand still. The morning misery vanished instantly. This ones for you Harmless, thanks Caroline Harroe for saving my life & getting me here!

Well done Deborah, we’re all proud of you!

Please celebrate this courageous effort and support Deborah by helping her reach her final fundraising target. So Far Deborah has raised £325 of her £500 target. With your help we can get her to the finish line! You can make a donation via this link https://localgiving.com/fundraising/harmlesslondon2paris Please also share the link as widely as possible.

All the money Harmless and the Tomorrow Project make from fundraising efforts like this one goes directly into the vital self harm support and suicide prevention work that we carry out.


Help us raise £500

Who can spare a quid towards saving lives?
Who can spare a second to share this link?


Deborah has made the first 100 miles and is on her second day. This takes such guts. Please help her meet her £500 target.

Harmless and Tomorrow Project deliver vital self harm support in schools

Over the past few weeks, one of Harmless and the Tomorrow Project’s counsellors has been working in schools with young people who self harm and have suicidal ideation.

It is of vital importance that we support young people who self harm by providing opportunities to explore their feelings and find alternative strategies to support them dealing with difficult issues such as friendship difficulties, relationship issues, stress and anxiety.

Many young people find it difficult to cope with their feelings and turn to self harm as a way of expressing their distress. By attending sessions with Harmless, it is hoped that young people will learn coping strategies that do not involve self harm such as talking to someone, relaxation or distraction. Self harm is not attention seeking, it is not a mental illness; it is a symptom of internal stress or distress.

Great review of self harm book: Harmless to receive royalties.

The following is a book that has been written by a variety of individuals with experience of self harm, both personal and professional. The review below summarises one individuals response to the book.

Harmless receives the royalties from this book and we are ever grateful for ever sale made.

Our encounters with self-harm
Charlie Baker, Clare Shaw, Fran Biley
PCCS Books, 2013 229pp, £18.00
ISBN 978-1906254636

Reviewed by Jackie Townsend

I was challenged, shocked, enlightened, outraged and at times deeply moved by the narratives in this book. I thought I ‘knew’ about self- harm; this book was a forceful reminder that each person’s experience of self-harm is unique and different. What came across most powerfully was the importance of listening and trying to understand what the person’s self-harming means to them.
It is not an easy read and at times I had to pause for breath or to wipe away tears. It incorporates narratives, poems, reflections and thoughts about self-harm by people who have self-harmed and by family, friends and professionals. The most powerful voices are those of the people who have self- harmed or are still self- harming. Most narratives end with a personal reflection on

how the contributor views their own story and the messages they would like to convey to professionals and/ or others in their own or similar positions.
I cannot recommend this book enough. Written with honesty and dignity, these accounts bear witness to the sometimes monstrous failings of services ostensibly set up to offer help and support. It invites – even demands of its readers that they examine their own attitudes and practices towards self-harm honestly, without defensiveness. But the accounts also offer a message of hope and reflections on what can make a difference.

Please help us with our research on self-harm in young people

Please help us with our research on self-harm in young people

Harmless are working with the Universities of Nottingham and Leicester to increase our understanding of self-harm in young people.

We are looking for young people aged 11-21 who have self-harmed in the last 6 months to take part in our research.

We would like to hear from young people who have experienced foster or residential care and young people who have never been in care.

There are two studies you could take part in – one involves being interviewed by about your experiences of self-harm. The other study involves taking part in two computer-based interviews over 6 months. You will privately answer questions about self-harm and other issues.

We can cover your travel expenses – meet you in a place of your choosing and we can offer a £15 high-street voucher (per study) as a thank you for your time.

It is really important for us to understand more about self-harm and help in the future development of services for young people who self-harm.

To take part please contact us at listenup@nottingham.ac.uk or call 0115 8467319.

Keep up-to-date with our latest self harm and suicide prevention work via Facebook, Twitter and Google +

Do you follow Harmless and The Tomorrow Project on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus? If not, then join us today…

The Harmless and Tomorrow Project team regularly use social media to keep people up-to-date about:

  • How we are making a positive difference in the field of self harm, suicide prevention and mental health
  • The important work we are doing in Nottingham,Nottinghamshire and the rest of the UK
  • Conferences and national events that we are attending and/or speaking at
  • Support services that we offer (e.g. drop in dates)
  • Our work from the perspective of services users and the people we support
  • Acknowledging the people who help Harmless and The Tomorrow Project
  • The latest training opportunities
  • And much more…

To follow Harmless on Facebook (click here), Twitter (click here) or Google + (click here)

To follow Tomorrow Project on Facebook (click here), Twitter (click here) or Google + (click here)

You can also sign up for our weekly mailout by emailing info@harmless.org.uk and letting us know you’d like the latest Harmless and Tomorrow Project news

Meet the Harmless team….

Over the upcoming weeks, we are asking members of the Harmless team to post a personal contribution to our blog. ‘Meet the Harmless team’ will invite our staff to discuss a variety of topics including what it is like working for our organisation. First up is our Office Administrator, Hayley Green.

As well as working for Harmless, Hayley is also a spoken word artist. She is a member of Nottingham based poetry collective the Mouthy Poets and has performed across the East Midlands and beyond.

A lot of her poetry involves the subject of self harm as poetry was a big part of her personal recovery. Not only does she write and perform spoken word on a big scale but she also delivers workshops in schools across Nottingham.

She says: “I am huge believer that spoken word and poetry can boost a young person’s self confidence and have personally felt the difference writing can make to the healing process. I struggled with self harm for a long time but poetry gave me a means of expressing my emotions in a healthy way. I want to use my talent to share my experience with others and help provide hope that life can get better. Working with Harmless has given me the means and provided me with the inspiration to take my poetry further and offer support to others who self harm. I want to fight stigma by talking about my experiences and spreading the work that Harmless do across creative platforms.”

Hayley is currently putting together a project to work with young people who self harm, using creative writing and spoken word as therapy, she has also started work on a spoken word theatre piece that will focus on her own story and recovery.

Places still available on our upcoming Cyber-Bullying Training (Tuesday 29th April 2014)

There are still some places left on our upcoming self harm training which focuses on cyber-bullying. More information about this course and how to book can be found below…

Cyber-Bullying: The Challenge Facing the Next Generation – How can we preserve the emotional well being and mental health of our future? Tuesday 29th April 2014 

What this workshop provides?

It is now estimated that over a billion people use Facebook across the globe with other social media sites such as Twitter and You Tube (and many more) now playing a major part in most of our everyday lives. Although some will argue that social media is a positive phenomenon, this workshop will highlight the challenges that face our young people who now have instant access to an increasing number of social sites.

Our training aims to raise awareness and understanding of the issues facing the next generation. It will explore cyber-bullying from the perspective of a young person and the potentially dangerous consequences that social media can have on those who access it. The growing use of apps and smart phones now means most young people have instant access to the internet and social sites 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Do we really know what our children are accessing online and the potential risks involved?

Learning outcomes:

·         We will look at a number of popular social media sites and how they work and the potential risks involved

·         Explore dangers such as online bullying and the links to suicide and self harm

·         Discussion on the importance placed by young people on online ‘life’

·         Highlight the dangers of anonymity

·         There will also be some opportunity to explore other issues around cyber-bullying and ask questions

Price: £60.00 per person

Venue:  Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service

7 Mansfield Road



Click here for Map

Time: 9.30am – 1.00pm

Refreshments: Tea and Coffee provided

To book a place on this course, please click here or alternatively you can email training@harmless.org.uk or phone 01159 348 445.