There are some really great things happening at Harmless that I want to tell you about

We have been working so hard lately on our future thinking about how Harmless can continue to grow and extend our reach and our help. It’s never easy for third sector services like ours to secure funding and grow, but Harmless have been going from strength to strength and we have recently been awarded the local contract for the delivery of Mental health training across Nottingham City. This is a huge triumph for an organisation such as ours.

This is great news for us as we have worked hard in a competitive tender process to be awarded the contract.

Although we have not seen the contract yet, we very much look forward to delivering on this scale.

ASIST Training at Harmless – 7th & 8th September

ASIST – Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training

Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th September 2015  – £250* per person

To coincide with World Suicide Awareness Day (10th September) Harmless will be delivering a 2 day ASIST Workshop in Nottingham.

The upcoming training, co-delivered by two qualified and certified ASIST trainers, is designed to increase your skills, abilities and confidence in your job role to support those at risk of suicide and be better prepared to deal with those at risk.

Places are limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Refreshments, lunch and all resources will be provided on both days of the workshop.

Certificate for  each delegate upon completion

Who is ASIST for?

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is for everyone 16 or older—regardless of prior experience—who wants to be able to provide suicide first aid. Shown by major studies to significantly reduce suicidality, the ASIST model teaches effective intervention skills while helping to build suicide prevention networks in the community.

We mean it when we say that ASIST is for everyone. Virtually anyone aged 16 and older can learn the skills to intervene and save a life from suicide. Professionals as well as members of the community at large have all found great value in ASIST over the years.

Many professionals attend ASIST because suicide intervention skills are essential for their work. In many organisations, ASIST is a mandatory component of training. Nurses, physicians, mental health professionals, pharmacists, teachers, counsellors, youth workers, police, first responders, correctional staff, school support staff, clergy, and volunteers have all found that ASIST complements their existing training and knowledge.

Other people attend simply because they want to be able to help someone in need, in much the same way they might learn CPR. Because the training is comprehensive and doesn’t rely on prior qualifications, they can have the same meaningful experience as a professional caregiver.

Why is ASIST important?

Developed in 1983 and regularly updated to reflect improvements in knowledge and practice, ASIST is the world’s leading suicide intervention workshop. During the two-day interactive session, participants learn to intervene and help prevent the immediate risk of suicide. Over 1,000,000 people have taken the workshop, and studies have proven that the ASIST method helps reduce suicidal feelings for those at risk.

Workshop features:

  • Presentations and guidance from two LivingWorks registered trainers
  • A scientifically proven intervention model
  • Powerful audiovisual learning aids
  • Group discussions
  • Skills practice and development
  • A balance of challenge and safety

ASIST has saved and changed hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.

What are the main benefits of attending ASIST training?

Here is what you can expect at your ASIST training:

  • ASIST is held over two consecutive days for a total of 15 hours.
  • ASIST is based on principles of adult learning. It values participants’ experiences and contributions and encourages them to share actively in the learning process.
  • ASIST workshops always have a minimum of two active ASIST trainers present for the entire two days. If there are more than 30 participants, there will be at least three trainers. Workshops over 45 participants are not recommended and should be split into two separate sessions instead.
  • Trainers show two award-winning videos in the course of the workshop. Cause of Death? provides a common starting point for the discussion of attitudes about suicide, while two versions of It Begins with You illustrate the process of a suicide intervention.
  • Some parts of ASIST take place with all participants together, and others take place in a smaller work group. This helps create a balance between safety and challenge. Participants need not disclose personal experiences to the whole group.
  • Local resources are provided and their availability in the community is discussed.
  • Participant materials include a 20-page workbook, wallet card, and stickers. Participants also receive a certificate upon completing the workshop.

What does ASIST cover?

There are 5 key stages of ASIST;

Preparing – Sets the tone, norms and expectations of the learning experience.

Connecting – Sensitizes participants to their own attitudes towards suicide. Creates an understanding of the impact that attitudes can have on the intervention process.

Understanding – Overviews the intervention needs of a person at risk. It focuses on providing participants with the knowledge and skills to recognize risk and develop safe plans to reduce the risk of suicide.

Assisting – Presents a model for effective suicide intervention. Participants develop their skills through observation and supervised simulation experiences in large and small groups.

Networking – Generates information about resources in the local community. Promotes a commitment by participants to transform local resources into helping networks.

Where can I find more information or book on the course?

For more information about our ASIST training or to book please contact Harmless and ask for Sophie Allen (Training coordinator and ASIST trainer).

To book on this course, click here or Telephone: 0115 9348445

Date(s): 7th and 8th September 2015 Times: 9am until 5pm (both days)

Training Location: Harmless, NCVS, 7 Mansfield Road, Nottingham NG1 3FB

Please note: Attendance on both days of the workshop is mandatory

Why help for schools in relation to self harm is so vital.

Schools and professionals should be aware of hidden factors associated when young people help each other with issues around self-harm

That is one finding of a study conducted by Dr Jane Reichardt from the Barnet Educational Psychology Team into the school experiences of adolescents who have self-harmed. The study, which used a psychosocial methodology drawing on psychoanalytic ideas and conducted as part of the Doctorate in Child and Educational Psychology at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, interviewed five young people in depth who were receiving treatment for self-harm.

The study found that helping young people is a complex issue, particularly when other young people are involved. Participants expressed a strong sense of belonging and identification when another young person demonstrated understanding and was experiencing similar feelings to them.

However, the study found that talking with a friend could sometimes exacerbate an individual’s problems, leaving them feeling more depressed and less likely to pursue more appropriate support. In addition, a sense of isolation could be compounded if advice to stop self-harming wasn’t followed.

Dr Jane Reichardt said: “Previous research has suggested that young people prefer to receive help from other young people or cope alone. Schools need to be aware that if young people are finding solace from their problems in other troubled young people and disclosing self-harm, they may not be getting the right help they need to address the underlying issues.

“Educational psychologists have a key role to play in supporting school staff to think about systemic issues around supporting this vulnerable group, including how to provide a well-supported pastoral care system. In addition, staff require support to process and make sense of the anxieties evoked by working with this vulnerable group of people.”

The Tomorrow Project would like to thank those who have recently completed fundraising for our suicide prevention services

Throughout the month of May the Tomorrow Project has received generous donations from numerous sources that have completed fundraising on our behalf.

Earlier this month Hollie ran the Litchfield Half Marathon in aid of the service. Her wonderful fundraising has raised a total of £500 which will go directly into helping us to provide support to individuals and the local community.

The Tomorrow Project has also received donations through our collection tubs located around the village of East Leake. Staff and customers of The Offy in East Leake have helped to raise a total of £364.13 by donating their spare change. Those at the Nags Head pub in the village have also helped to collect a total of £44.80.

We would like to thank Pinfold Vets of East Leake who have made a donation of £50 which was raised through fundraising efforts in the village. This money will go straight into supporting our suicide prevention services.

Steve Grove is continuing his support for the Tomorrow Project by running a series of 10k runs and half marathons. If you would like to sponsor Steve you can do so by following the link below:

If you are interested in doing any fundraising on behalf of the Tomorrow Project then please get in touch with us at for more information.

Harmless self harm drop in tomorrow

Harmless are holding another young person drop in session.

This drop in will be open to all young people aged up to 21 years:

The Drop in will be held on Wednesday 27th May at 10 – 11am

Our trained therapist will be on hand to offer information or advice about any concerns you may have about self harm.

If you have any concerns about someone such as a family member, friend or a colleague, then please feel free to join us, you will be assured of a friendly welcome.

The next adult drop in session will be held on Wednesday 3rd June from 3:30 – 4:30pm. This will be open to all adults aged 18 and over.

All drop in sessions will take place at the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service Building, & Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB (Opposite House of Fraser)

If you have trouble finding us please call on 0115 934 8445 or email us at

The Tomorrow Project receives a donation from the Staff and Customers of The Offy in East Leake

We would like to say a big thank you to the staff and customers of ‘The Offy’ in East Leake who have collected £364.13 for the Tomorrow Project to support our suicide prevention services.

The Tomorrow Project runs solely on donations like these. Having support from our community in this way really helps us to continue the important work that we do and allows us to offer vital support for people in crisis.

The money raised will go straight towards helping us to support individuals and the local community.

If you would like to make a donation to support Harmless and the Tomorrow Project, you can do so by visiting the Harmless online shop.

If you are interested in doing any fundraising on behalf of the Tomorrow Project then please get in touch with us at for more information.

A & E is no place for a suicidal patient

A & E is no place for a suicidal patient and yet this is where they come, at least one or two cases a day, to the chaos of our busy department. It is hardly conducive to dealing with someone who views life itself as a disease. Staff process patients while forced to meet four-hour targets, and always have one eye on the clock to avoid financial penalty-incurring breaches. Sometimes the irony of the situation cannot be missed: in one cubicle is a patient so sick they are fighting for their life and in the next is another wanting to give up theirs.

The descriptions on our computer screens vary. Overdose, deliberate self-harm and sometimes simply “unable to cope”. If patients have harmed themselves in any way they need to be examined to ensure nothing life-threatening lingers. We make sure their paracetamol levels are not within liver-killing range and call the psychiatry teams. But how can you really ask a patient properly about the reasons they have ended up here, when you have a tsunami of others lined up behind you?

For patients with mental health issues we call psychiatry liaison and some people who I would never envisage being safe to go home, I see being discharged for follow-up in the community. I have to accept that they have focused specialism in this area of medicine and their judgment outweighs mine. But how much of their decisions are partially influenced by resources? It flickers through my mind cynically that we may see that patient again at their next attempt.

It’s not just the depressed and suicidal we see. Those with psychosis come in scared and wide-eyed – confused by the voices in their heads and their experience made much worse by the noise around them in the department. We wear scrub uniforms which for a paranoid patient can be deeply unnerving. If they become agitated, security arrives in black uniforms making it even worse. One woman became fixated by me and was threatening violence. I spent most of the shift repeatedly calling psychiatry.

Then there are the children, for whom we have to call the child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) team. Some are depressed, some display new psychosis, or others as young as 11 are diagnosed with personality disorders and have taken life-threatening overdoses. Sometimes they hear voices threatening violence to their family and so act to protect them, which can involve harming others or themselves.

One A&E consultant described paediatric psychiatry as a Cinderella speciality – sidelined and under-resourced. As the numbers of such patients appear to be increasing, the network to care for them does not. A patient referred to CAMHS waits in an A&E cubicle, thus limiting space to see other patients. At night CAMHS staff often suggest admitting them under paediatrics until they arrive in the morning. The paediatric team understandably refuse for a multitude of reasons such as lack of space, or because a psychotic patient on a ward with other sick children would be difficult to manage. The bottom line is that these children will be better served being in the right facility, with experienced mental health staff, so they stay in A&E.

People will keep coming to A&E for their mental health problems because they do not know where else to go. We can help them to get access to the right people but it appears that demand far exceeds existing capacity. A&E is just a small sticking plaster for a whole host of mental health conditions that warrant the right care, backed by better resources.

One thing is certain, judging by the number of attempted suicides we see in A&E: there are a lot of people out there who need help. Depression and its consequences seem to be as common as a year-round seasonal viral infection. Why are we not calling it an outbreak?

Source: The Guardian

Congratulations Hollie!

The team at Harmless and the Tomorrow Project would like to thank Hollie Smith for helping to raise £500 towards our Suicide Prevention services in East Leake.

The Tomorrow Project needs great fundraising efforts like this one to continue delivering vital support and suicide prevention services as it currently receives no statutory funding.

Hollie’s contribution will go towards the delivery of this work and help us work towards a brighter future for many people.

Congratulations to Hollie for completing the Litchfield Half Marathon on Sunday 3rd May, and thank you to everyone that supported Hollie in her challenge. All of the money raised really does make a difference.

Introduction to Self Harm Training

Our next Introduction to Self Harm Training day will be on Tuesday 23rd June 2015.

This training day will provide an opportunity for individuals from a broad range of professional arenas to attend and get a detailed overview of self harm and working with self harm. Although there is some opportunity for delegates to explore the impact upon them in their own professional arenas, the training is non-specific to a particular field.

The training day will cover:

  • What self harm is, and who it effects
  • What causes someone to self harm and some of the myths around self harm
  • What can be done to support and help people who self harm
  • Managing the impact of self harm as an individual and a workplace
  • Useful interventions for working with people who self harm and promoting empowerment
  • Managing and assessing risk

The training is CPD certified and is delivered over the course of a day and will use a range of delivery methods. Price includes a resource/training pack for all participants.

To book your place, click here, or email

Date: Tuesday 23rd June 2015

Venue:  Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service, 7 Mansfield Road, Nottingham NG1 3FB

Time: 9.30am – 4.00pm

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