Charity Kickboxing fitness class a success! Thank you from the Tomorrow Project team for supporting your local suicide prevention service

Last Sunday, I attended the Community Charity Kickboxing fitness class in East Leake. On behalf of the team, I would like to say that we were really pleased to be part of such a wonderful event. I particularly enjoyed getting the opportunity to meet people from the local area and raising awareness about the importance of our role within the community.

As a clinical member of the Tomorrow Project team, I deliver therapy in the village and I get to see first hand the importance that fundraising efforts make to the community. With no funding in place, this service relies on days like these to support this vital service.

We would like to thank the organisers and everyone who supported the Tomorrow Project on Sunday. You are literally helping us save lives.

I look forward to the next event!

Val Stevens (Tomorrow Project Counsellor)

If you would like to know more information about the Tomorrow Project visit: or call 07594 008 356

Self harm counsellor offers a personal reflection about the work we do at Harmless

Harmless and the Tomorrow Project’s undertakes a self harm and suicide prevention programme in which the key aims are to

  • raise awareness of the issues relating to self harm and  suicidal ideation/intent
  • undertake effective information sharing
  •  challenge the stigma attached to mental health issues
  • Support individuals identified as being at risk.

Members of the Harmless team understand self harm and believe that the journey towards recovery may require different strategies, at different times for managing emotional distress.

As a counsellor within the Harmless clinical team, my work involves supporting individuals who daily face the stigma surrounding mental health issues and more specifically self harm.

Recently, I read with interest the experiences of Louise Pembroke who wrote about her experiences of self harm, regular rejection by A & E professionals and hospitalisation. She spoke of her loss of hope and difficulty caring for herself. The seriousness of her injuries increased in line with her distress. The turning point occurred when an ophthalmic nurse involved in her care noticed her anguish and simply asked ‘what’s wrong, are you hurt?’ As Louise acknowledged her emotional pain and physical injury, the nurse listened emphatically and went on to share information regarding ‘harm minimisation;’ this enabled Louise to safeguard herself from serious injury and undertake appropriate measures for self care.

Louise expressed that:

‘This non-judgemental and practical approach was imparted without any lecturing or catastrophising and had a profound impact on me…. She understood that was where I was at in my life and she accepted me whether I harmed or didn’t harm. I didn’t have to hide it, justify it, or make bargains or promises I couldn’t keep. It was such a relief.’

‘For the first time I had some control over my circumstances.’

Louise Pembroke’s experience highlights the importance of the approach of all professionals when providing services of any kind for individuals who are vulnerable to the risk of self harm.

This knowledge underpins the Harmless ethos of acceptance. We understand that treating each client with respect is of foremost importance; by supporting individuals to develop autonomy, minimise risk and, with time integrate alternative strategies for emotional regulation we believe that recovery is possible.

Naomi Stewart (Harmless Counsellor)





Spandler H, Ed Warner S Ed, (2007) BEYOND FEAR AND CONTROL working with young people who self harm Cromwell Press (Trowbridge).

Pembridge L, Harm Minimisation; Limiting The Damage of self-Injury.

Harmless Director nominated for the Nottingham Post’s Women in Business Awards

AN inspirational woman who uses a business model to help save lives and a leader who inspires her team have been nominated for the Nottingham Post’s Women in Business Awards.


Caroline Harroe set up Harmless in 2007 after recovering from mental health problems and a history of self-harm. The social enterprise provides support, information, training and consultancy to people who self-harm, their friends, families and other professionals.

Last year, the Nottingham organisation helped more than 400 young people and 300 over 25s across the UK.

It also delivered training to more than 1,050 people and experience a 60 per cent increase in referrals.

A total of 77 per cent of the organisation’s income is self-generated, with a small proportion coming from grants.

Caroline, 35, said: “We use a business model to save lives, which means that we are not grant-dependent.

“Around 75 per cent of people we’ve helped said that when feeling suicidal they didn’t feel confident going to a GP, so this service is vital.

“I am really surprised to be nominated for the Women in Business Awards.

“I do what I do, I don’t expect to be recognised.”

Nominating Caroline for the inspirational woman award, Darren Whelband, from Harmless, said: “She has overcome significant personal struggle to establish a thriving and innovative social enterprise. Using a sound business model, Harmless provides helps and support, training, advice and research across the UK.

“All profit generated is used to provide free therapeutic help to those in distress.

“Caroline works around the clock to ensure the organisation meets its ultimate aim of saving lives, applying herself with equal vigour to the strategic drive of the enterprise and the humility with which to help people.

“Using her own story of struggle and triumph she enlists the hope in others needed to create change in the world and drives a business that is nationally unique and renowned, leading on practice and passion.”

Read more:

Harmless aren’t just for Nottingham!

Harmless aren’t just for Nottingham!

Over the last two weeks I have delivered 6 PSHE sessions on self harm to a schools, three in Cambridge and three in Staffordshire. The diversity of the schools and the pupils aren’t a challenge; it is a pleasure.

No matter where in the country we deliver, I am always greeted by students who engage, ask questions and most of all continue to talk about what they have heard after. Yes, at times there is reluctance by students to come to the session when they know what the content is; either they feel it is not of relevance to them or, they themselves are self-harming and feel the session may be triggering.

I am pleased to say that though the latter is a common fear, one raised often by teachers, very rarely has a student left during a session. Delivery of self harm awareness is done with sensitivity and the subject of self harm is brought about gradually and in a way that reduces stigma and increases understanding. Not just for those who self harm, but for everyone.

Blog written by Satveer Nijjar (Harmless and Tomorrow Project Trainer)

If you want more information about our training packages, please email, call 01159 348 445 (admin line only) or click here

Harmless Win Award at National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards 2014

The Harmless team are extremely pleased to announce that we won an award at last night’s ‘National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards 2014.’

Harmless were winners of the ‘innovation in children and adolescent mental health service award’ which is given to a service/team working with children, adolescents and young people who have developed innovative ways of working and involving those in the service.

We are extremely proud that our work in the field of self harm has been recognised on a national level. Our team are dedicated and passionate about the work that we do and being acknowledged by service users and our peers is truly fantastic.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate the organisers who put on a wonderful event, with a special mention to Tony and Angie Russell. Our team are extremely grateful that we were part of an evening which celebrated and recognised excellence in mental health and mental health services.

You can find out more information about the awards via this link


Time running out to vote for Harmless in the O2 Smarta 100 Awards

Harmless are to receive one of the #O2Smarta100 business awards, celebrating 100 of the UK’s most innovative and disruptive small businesses.

We are now in the running to win our category of ‘Biggest Social Impact’ but we need your support. Time is running out to vote! 

If you haven’t already voted for Harmless in the Smarta100 awards please take a moment to support us. You can vote for us via this link  – it only takes a minute. Pop your email address in. Done. But it could be the difference between winning and losing, raising money or not, but we will use that money to save lives if we win…

We’d massively appreciate your votes, so please please give us a click if you haven’t already.

Harmless to find out tonight if they have won an award at ‘The National Positive Practice Awards in Mental Health 2014′

Harmless will find out tonight if they have won an award at the ‘The National Positive Practice Awards in Mental Health 2014.’ Representatives of Harmless, who are nominated for the vital work we do in the field of self harm and mental health,  will attend the awards celebration in Sheffield.

Harmless is short-listed for the ‘Innovation in Child, Adolescent and Young People’s Mental Health’ which is given to a service/team working with children, adolescents or young people who have developed innovative ways of working, and involving their patients in the service.

Although we are extremely proud to be nominated, we have our fingers crossed that we can go on and win! We are looking forward to attending what will be a fantastic night, celebrating all that is positive in mental health.

We work  hard to establish ourselves as a leading voice around self harm and continue to change the lives of the people we support now and in the future. This award is about identifying and disseminating positive practice and innovation; getting nominated highlights the work we do around self harm on a national level.

The Butterfly effect of male suicide

In early 1941, a man named Haakon joined up with the 35th Squadron of His Majesty’s Royal Air Force to fight the Nazis. He served as a tail gunner and flew on many missions including the bombing of Paris. In late 1941, Haakon was shot down over Hamburg, Germany. His face was scraped up and he was struck three times in the back of his neck by shell fragments. He would soon get promoted to 1st Lieutenant and serve the majority of the rest of the war in York, England teaching advanced tactics to members of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Haakon returned to the United States, got a job as a mason, was married, and had two children. He would later suffer from undiagnosed post traumatic stress disorder from his time in the war. In 1966, just shy of his fiftieth birthday, he died by suicide.

I, a 30-year-old American man, didn’t know any of these details about my grandfather until recently when I stumbled upon old newspapers online. We didn’t talk about Haakon when I was a child because my father, Haakon’s son, was ashamed of the way Haakon died and kept him a secret.

The stigma of Haakon’s death loomed over my father for his entire life, and in 2009 my father took his own life at the age of 60 while going through a divorce with my mother.

In 2011, after my father’s death, a falling out with my mother, and a bad break up; I nearly took my life as well. Not wanting to die and knowing my two predecessors didn’t speak up; I finally opened up and got help.

Statistically speaking, people who have had suicides in their family are at greater risk to make a suicide attempt. I can’t help but think that if Haakon’s story hadn’t included his time in the Royal Air Force; then Douglas might not have died, and my story would look different as well. You can’t change the past but you can create your future, and so I wanted to go back to where it all began-the United Kingdom.

For years, I’ve been inching to get to the bottom of male suicide – not just an American thing or a British thing, but a problem worldwide. Statistically in the US and UK, men above 50 years of age have a high rate of suicide – roughly 75% of suicides in both the US and UK are male and worldwide there is an average of one suicide per forty seconds. I wanted to know what we could do to prevent that. To do so I interviewed Dr. Max Mackay-James, a doctor based in the UK, who founded Conscious Ageing Trust and Men Beyond 50.

Q1: Is suicide learned-behaviour or is it truly preventable?

A1: It is preventable – there is nothing inevitable about suicide. Every suicide involves a choice, and in every case the choice can go either way. In any moment we can decide to kill ourselves, or we can choose to stay alive.

Every man or woman alive has more than likely had the thought, however fleeting, that in this moment, in this situation, he or she could choose to kill him or herself. That’s okay – it’s a thought comes with simply being human. But we have a choice and help and hope does exist in this world.

Whether you’re in crisis or if you want to help someone in crisis – it’s important to develop the feeling of being vulnerable, especially us men. Why? Because it allows us to feel empathy for others so we look out for each other more, but even more important it gives us compassion for ourselves. We men get into the habit of thinking we are invulnerable, and it’s simply not the case.

Q2: What is it about men aged 50+ that causes risk for suicide?

A2: The way men are brought up to believe what it takes to “be a man” may add to the risks. When traditional expectations of men about power and control no longer work in today’s society, intense feelings of shame, disgrace, and sense of personal failure can result in potentially self-destructive behaviour.

Loneliness and isolation can increase the risks of suicide. Research on male social networks shows that both 30+ and 50+ men may have fewer supportive relationships, and that (compared with women) men may lack skills and experience in coping emotionally.

Q3: How can we lend a hand to men aged 50+ in crisis of thinking of suicide?

A3: Simply remember to stay in touch with a feeling of vulnerability. Don’t judge, don’t panic, and don’t feel you have to be an expert. Being open to this feeling of vulnerability will give us a good chance to help somebody thinking seriously about suicide.

Since mental illness is so common in suicides, the “canary” warning sign is likely to be depression. So being able to recognise this and letting that person talk especially in a time of deep unhappiness or distress can make all the difference. Giving our own emotional support and signposting somebody to get appropriate and timely professional help can and does help prevent suicides.

UK Resources: Helplines and support groups Samaritans (08457 90 90 90) A 24-hour service available every day of the year.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) (0800 58 58 58) A resource and helpline for young men who are feeling unhappy.

Silver Line (0800 4 70 80 90) A helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people

Source: Huffington post


Kickboxing for the tomorrow project!

Come and join us this Saturday the 26th October , 11:00-13:00, at East leake leisure centre for a kickboxing fitness class in aid of the Tomorrow Project.

Please don’t feel shy as all fitness levels, ages and abilities will be catered for. Run by the coaches and team from a local kickboxing club, this will be a fun and informative session that will also help raise awareness of depression and the prevention of suicide. The session will be strictly non contact with a relaxed and upbeat atmosphere. It is a great chance to meet people or a support network in your area and raise awareness of the tomorrow project.

The tomorrow project is a suicide prevention project that has been set up to respond to the needs and concerns of the local community in East Leake and surrounding areas.

No one wants to loose someone they love and care about to suicide and none of us want to think that our friends and families might consider ending their lives. If we pull together as a community and begin to develop ways of talking to one another about these difficulties, we can start to change the future and reduce the risk of more deaths.

We want to say a special thanks to East Leake Leisure Centre who are providing the room for FREE so ALL your proceeds can be given to the project to help support people who need it in your area. The class is free of charge but we are asking for a donation of at least £5 for the Tomorrow Project.

So come along to the class to meet some of the Tomorrow Project team, have a great 2 hours of kickboxing based fitness and help us raise awareness about this great cause.

Please visit for more information and to book your place.


Self Harm and Creativity

As some people may know, as well as the administrator for Harmless, I am also a spoken word poet. I believe that recovery can be a huge part of recovery for those who self harm, at least it was for me, and I know for many of the people I meet when performing and teaching.

This year Harmless asked me to share some of my poetry at our annual celebration event which I agreed to without question. The night was amazing to be a part of and it meant so much for me to be able to do what I loved, and what I believe saved my life, for an organisation that helps so may others on the road to recovery.

Here is one of the pieces I performed on the night…


It was harmless –

I was tattooing imprints,

I could stop any time.


Time wasted

distorting deceit from my lips

but the words started to heal

draping dressings around feelings.


So I stepping stoned these letters,

bridged sentences over the tunnel

to the other side


another side.

It was lighter,


My pen, a sonic screwdriver

torching hope into my world.


The recovery took longer.


It’s not like they tell you –

it’s no finger snap

snapping minds back into place.

It’s not as simple as

putting a smile back on your face.


It takes a hook

a drive

a vehicle cargoing

a hand, an ear, a pen

a voice.


A voice;

for me it was a voice;

I declared harm less before I felt it,

before I heard it,

before I believed it.


Before I believed in myself.

Schooled myself

learning self appreciation.

Now appreciation’s turned to celebration,



‘cause I was baby stepping stages for ages –

I was weeping on pages

now I’m spitting on stages

and I’m not saying I’m recovered forever

but I know where to turn when there’s a little bad weather


‘cause I found my voice.

Found an outlet

letting emotions flow,

written down and I spoke up.

Spoke of the times I cried

and most importantly why.


I’m not saying I’m recovered forever

but I know where to turn –

turned my life around

and believed in myself –

now I look in the mirror when I need some help.


Tracing my reflection on glass,

tattooing new imprints –

hope sketched on my arm

like inspiration instead of harm.


Hayley Green (Harmless Administrator)