In the news: The number of cases of young boys being admitted to A&E for self-harming is at a five-year high, new figures reveal.

Emergency admissions of boys aged 10 to 14 have soared by 30 per cent over the past five years.

Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) said A&E admissions had increased from 454 in 2009 to 2010, to 659 in 2013 to 2014.

And the number of cases of girls aged 10 to 14 self-harming has also increased dramatically, nearly doubling from 3,090 in 2009 to 2010 to 5,955 in 2013 to 2014.

Self-harm can include cutting, burning and intentional self-poisoning. The HSCIC said the figures related to the number of admissions, rather than individual patients, and could include individuals who have gone to hospital many times.

Campaigners say bullying, stress at school and sexual pressure is driving young people to self-harm. Boys were also more likely than girls to punch or hit themselves, which some hospitals may not categorise as self-harm, campaigners added.

‘Future anxiety’

While the trend has historically been seen as more common in girls, it is increasing in boys too. Lucy Russell, director of campaigns at the charity YoungMinds, says boys were “under a lot of pressure in the modern age” with potential triggers including family breakdown, a 24/7 digital culture and anxiety over future prospects.

“There is a lot of family breakdown, there are addiction issues in families, poverty issues, there is a lot of stress at school in terms of having to perform and pass exams, there’s bullying, 24/7 online culture, sexual pressures, issues around body image and, really, in terms of the future, what are young people going to do in the future?”

And the trend is believed to run further. A World Health Organisation (WHO) report due to be released next year is expected to show the number of teenagers who have self-harmed has tripled over the last decade in England.


Date: 12th December 2014

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Losing my brother to suicide: breaking my silence

One brother speaks about his loss to suicide. Beautifully and painfully moving, please take a moment to read.

‘I will never forget Jan. 17, 2002. I was at my fraternity house at Washington and Lee University when Justine, my girlfriend at the time and now my wife, burst into my room frantically telling me I needed to call home. I could tell she was shaken, but mostly I was confused. When my father picked up the phone, I could tell that something was clearly wrong.

The sound of his trembling voice, which normally booms with confidence, is seared into my memory. He asked me if I would sit down for a moment. Then he said it:

“Son, your brother has taken his life.”

I immediately responded, “Dad, is he going to be okay?”

In retrospect, it seems strange to ask, but I literally could not process what happened.

“No, son, Tyler’s gone,” he said.

I simply could not believe that my brother could do such a thing. No way. Not suicide. That is not supposed to happen. Suicide happens to people in bad situations, not people from loving families. It happens to people who are bullied or isolated, not the captain of the football team who everyone likes.

In the coming years, I would come to realize how wrong I was, how my assumptions stemmed from my own arrogance, and how I had no idea about the reach and devastation of suicide.

I remember flying home almost immediately. I saw ice forming on the plane’s wing as I looked out into the darkness of night. I never wanted to land and face what was waiting for me at home. The weather was so bad that the plane was ultimately forced down in Huntsville, and I drove the rest of the way to Nashville.

When I arrived, they had already taken his body. Some specialized company had already cleaned up our shared bathroom where my brother shot himself. The only details they missed were the shotgun pellets imbedded in the crown molding.

Being a brash college sophomore, I figured I could handle it. I could help my father and mother manage the funeral arrangements. I would ensure that my brother and sister were all right. I was tough, overconfident and completely unprepared for the long painful road ahead.

What broke me were the uncontrollable wailing cries of my mother. They clawed at my very soul. I have tried unsuccessfully for more than a decade to forget them. I never understood that sound until the birth of my first son. It marks a loss so deep and profound that words cannot describe it.

We buried my brother shortly thereafter. The last time I peered into the casket and saw his body, I could barely recognize him.

We put him in the ground with his parents, grandparents, and even a great grandparent at the graveside. Hundreds of friends and family were there with us. Some of them hugged their children tighter that night, they asked their friends how they were doing with a little more sincerity, and faced the reality of a life cut short.

So many years removed from that darkest day, I read about suicides with disturbing frequency, especially during the holidays. I know what it means for those families and friends. Suicide does not discriminate. It promises a grand lie, immediate peace for a soul in pain who will easily be forgotten. That could not be further from the truth. The years of hurt, suffering, second-guessing and doubt that stemmed from my brother’s instantaneous decision are not the legacy he would have wanted.

Every time I started to talk or write about Tyler’s suicide, I would think to myself, “It is not their problem,” or “It will just make them uncomfortable.” The irony is that so many people who have suffered through the pain of someone else’s suicide or have thought about it themselves have stifled their stories the same way.

Suicide thrives on silence.

I miss my brother. I think about him often, and, when I wrestle around with my boys, I think of how much Tyler would have loved them. I choke back the tears and remember the good times we had as kids, but he is forever missing from the lives of his family and friends.

I will never presume to understand or be able to judge the mindset of someone capable of making such a terrible choice. If there is a possible silver lining of losing my brother, it is that I have gained tremendous empathy for those walking through dark times in their lives. Working through the pain of my brother’s suicide has shown me how little I know, that assumptions are frequently wrong, and that I would rather have the people in my life than agree with their politics, perspectives or life choices.

I have always wondered what would have happened if just one teacher, one friend, or even I had been able to reach my brother in that dark place. How could I have known? In the new culture of personal image projection, so many people paint a pretty picture while hiding their troubles. The only way to see their pain is to know them deeply and show them our struggles and scars as well. Even then, we still might miss the depths of their sorrow.

The bottom line is that in a world more “connected” than ever, far too many of those we call our friends, neighbors and colleagues are alone and struggling to wake up the next day. Real relationships are messy, difficult and time consuming, but they give life so much of its value.

I cannot undo my brother’s suicide, but I also will not allow suicide to thrive on my silence any longer.’

A Harmless Christmas is Coming

Look what arrived this morning!

Harmless’ own brand of Christmas cards.

Help support vital self harm and suicide prevention services by sending a festive card this holiday season!

Premium quality cards come in packs of 8 with 2 designs and self seal envelopes

All the money raised will go directly towards supporting the ongoing work of Harmless and The Tomorrow Project and saving lives.

Buy yours in our online store: 

Looking to donate to Harmless’ self harm services or The Tomorrow Project’s suicide prevention work? If you support us today, your donation may be tripled by local

Looking to donate to Harmless’ self harm services or The Tomorrow Project suicide prevention work? If you support us today, your donation may be tripled by local giving. Please refer below for’s #givingTuesday campaign. 

It’s Giving Tuesday and we’re tripling
1,000 x £10 donations made today!

We’re excited to announce that as a founding partner of #GivingTuesday UK, we’re tripling 1000 x £10 donations made through today!

After the sales of Black Friday and the online shopping boom on Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to come together and show the world why it’s good to give.

This global initiative hopes to encourage charitable giving to those most in need. Small charities currently receive just 7% of all UK donations, despite the fact that many are in desperate need of support.

Just £10 could make a huge difference to a small local charity in your area. Please consider taking part this #GivingTuesday by making a donation now.

Click here to donate to Harmless 

Successful donations will be selected at random and we will inform you within 3 days if your donation has been tripled. Donate £10 now to take part. Good luck!

Harmless provide information stand at QMC Medical School to promote our self harm and suicide prevention services

Harmless personnel have provided an information at QMC Medical School. We had the opportunity to engage with, and received a positive response from the student community, University Professionals and statutory and voluntary organisations.

The Harmless and Tomorrow project’s focus on responding to the issues of self harm and suicide by reducing the stigma attached to mental health issues and promoting to awareness is ongoing.

The presence of a wide range of organisations providing information and support relating to emotional and physical health demonstrates the commitment of the medical school to integrate the emotional and psychological wellbeing of their student community alongside the promoting academic excellence.

Harmless  continues to offer a professional, ethical and responsive self harm and suicide prevention service and demands for our counselling and consultancy services continues to grow.

To contact Harmless, please refer to the websites: