Harmless and The Tomorrow Project would like to invite you to contribute to our blog

Our blog is important to us because it helps us to convey a range of issues around self harm and suicide to the public. It helps us reach people in distress and promote better understanding about these issues amongst our readers.

It helps us tell you about our work, upcoming events, dispel myths and offer advice. But we also want it to challenge stigma and to offer real stories about self harm and recovery so that people reading this can feel connected to what we do and who we help.

If you would like to write a blog for us about your experiences, then you can submit this to info@harmless.org.uk with the title ‘blog post’. In your email, please tell us what name you would like us to use for you. You can say as little about your identity as you want.

The blog should be about 200 -300 words in length and shouldn’t be graphic in any way, but should offer the reader an insight into your experiences that might help them relate to self harm, distress, or suicide. The blog could be about what you’ve felt or experienced, what’s helped, or not helped… What needs to change, or what the stigma around these issues has been for you.

It is vital to us that we represent your voice and your experiences, so if you feel you can contribute to this blog, please do.

We look forward to hearing from you.

In the News: Frequently bullied kids ‘twice as likely’ to be depressed at 18

A study of just under 4,000 teenagers in the UK has found that bullying – “victimization by peers” – during adolescence is associated with a higher risk of depression in young adulthood.

The study, published in The BMJ, was led by experimental psychologist Professor Lucy Bowes of the University of Oxford in the UK. It had a longitudinal observational design to examine the relationship between bullying at 13 years of age and depression at 18 years of age. A survey about bullying was completed at the younger age, and a computer-based clinical assessment of depression was completed as the 3,898 participants entered adulthood in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a UK community-based birth cohort. A dose-response relationship was observed between increasing amounts of adolescent bullying and depression in later years:

  • In the group of teenagers who had reported no victimization at all, just over 5% went on to have depression
  • A greater burden of the mental ill health was seen among the teenagers who had reported being bullied at 13 years of age between one and three times in a 6-month period – 7.1% had depression at 18
  • The proportion of depressed people at this age rose to 14.8% in the teenagers who had reported being bullied by their peers more than once a week.

In terms of a comparison against rates of persistent depression – experiencing depressive symptoms for more than 2 years – 10.1% of those who reported frequent victimization said that they suffered this compared with 4.1% of those in the non-victimized group.

Teenagers were more likely to tell someone at home about bullying than someone at school – most teenagers (up to three quarters) reported never telling their teachers about their victimization, whereas as little as a quarter of teenagers reported that they kept quiet at home.

If there was physical bullying such as being hit or beaten up, an adult was told about this by 75% of those affected. The kinds of bullying experienced by the children as they entered the teenage years included:

  • Having personal belongings taken – which affected 16.5% of study participants occasionally (one to three times in total) in a 6-month period
  • Having lies told about them by their peers – 11.4% affected occasionally
  • Being called nasty names – 8.9% were affected by this frequently (over four times in the period) and 8.7% very frequently (more than once a week)
  • Someone hitting or beating up on them – 8.6% occasionally
  • Experiencing their peers not hang around with them as a deliberate means to upset them – 7.3% affected occasionally
  • Being threatened or blackmailed – 7.1% occasionally
  • Being tricked – 6.6% occasionally
  • Being pushed to do something they did not want to do – 6.3% occasionally
  • Having games deliberately spoilt – 3.4% occasionally.

Could bullying be to blame for a third of depression?

The observational study could not establish a definitive relationship between cause and effect, but if bullying does directly lead to depression, the authors say that up to 30% of the condition in early adulthood could be attributable to victimization in earlier teenage years, potentially explaining a “substantial contribution to the overall burden of depression.”

They add that interventions to reduce bullying in schools could have mental health benefits among young adults.

An editorial in the same issue of the journal says that the study “offers clear anti-bullying messages that should be endorsed by parents, school authorities, and practitioners internationally.”

The article, by Maria Ttofi, a lecturer in psychological criminology at the University of Cambridge in the UK, is introduced with the statement that “probably the one thing beyond schoolwork that young people have in common is the need to fit in with their peer group.” She continues:

“When young people do not fit in, things may turn ugly. We have all heard stories of young people being the target of racist, homophobic, or other forms of bullying. Bullying can hamper the psychosocial development of young people.”

This article can be found at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/294707.php.

Sensitively broaching the subject of suicide with young people.

Given the recent tragedy and death of Amber Peat the subject of suicide and how a young person comes to end their life is on everyone’s lips or at least in their thoughts.
Talking about suicide is a truly difficult topic to speak about, especially with young people but it is one conversation that is vital that we have, especially in school. When it comes to having these conversations or discussing the subject in any kind of media it is vital to consider the do’s and don’t’s below:

What you should and shouldn’t do.
-Don’t provide detailed descriptions of suicide methods.
-Never suggest that a suicide method is quick, easy, painless or certain to result in death.
-Use language carefully. Try to use non-emotive language – be factual rather than dramatic.
-Don’t use dramatic or sensationalist pictures or videos when talking or teaching about suicide.
-Do not discuss or share details from suicide notes or explore in depth details such as what a person was sharing in social media in the lead up to their death.
-Do not speculate about the cause or trigger for suicide even if this is based on suicide notes or reports from close friends and family.
-Do not allow blame to be associated with suicide. For instance if someone dies leaving behind children that does not mean that they are selfish.
-Use statistics with caution. Check with Samaritans to make sure you have the most recent data and are comparing like with like if you feel it’s important to share statistics.
-Signpost sources of support, both within and beyond school. Some students will prefer to access anonymous support. (Sources of support are highlighted below).
-Discuss the importance of students telling a trusted adult if they think a friend may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings.
-Offer specific support to any students whose lives have been impacted by suicide or suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts in the past as suicide incidents in the media can leave them highly vulnerable.

Sources of support.
There are some fantastic sources of support for young people experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, or concerned friends or family. Sharing helplines and websites as well as signposting the relevant routes for support at school is very important. It is helpful to make parents, as well as students, aware of sources of support. Provide clear guidance to parents as to who they should talk to at school and how, if they are concerned about their child or their child’s friend and feel free to talk to a member of our team at any point and with any question, query or need.

Source: Samaritans and Dr Pooky Knightsmith.

Sorrow over the death of Amber Peat.

All of us at The Tomorrow Project would like to extend our sorrow and support to anyone effected by the recent death of Amber Peat.

We had hoped when she went missing that we would hear better news but tonight there has been the announcement of her suicide.

We can only begin to appreciate the complete devastation that the family are experiencing right now and understand fully the breadth of the impact of this news upon people directly related to Amber and more broadly, upon the community and anyone else who has a relationship to suicide.

The community impacted by this tragedy are local to our service and we are here should anyone need our support, for anyone who has been directly or indirectly effected by this sad news.

Suicide is a devastating experience. It touches people’s lives unlike any other, effecting families and communities.

Please seek support if you need it. We are here.


Harmless Celebration Event Raffle Tickets Now on Sale!

Fancy Winning a Weeks Stay in a Spanish Apartment? Aladdin Panto Tickets? Or L’Occitane Toiletries? And help save lives at the same time? Then why not buy a raffle ticket….

Tickets are £1 each and all the money raised goes directly towards helping us provide a range of services about self harm including support, information, training and consultancy to people who self harm, their friends and families and professionals.

The draw will take place during the Harmless Celebration Event on October 2nd 2015 and all winners will be notified within two weeks of the draw taking place.

To purchase your raffle tickets follow this link to the Harmless shop.

Thank you for your support and good luck!  

Prizes include:

A Weeks Stay in a luxury Studio apartment in Benalmadena, Spain (Sleeps 2)

Vouchers for The Pudding Pantry

Panto Tickets – Aladdin

L’Occitane Toiletries

Whittards Selection of Teas and Biscuits

Vouchers for 360 Play in Leicester

And many more to follow….

Terms and conditions of raffle available on request

 You must be 16 or over to buy a raffle ticket.

Harmless self harm drop in service

The next Harmless self harm drop in for Adults is this week.

If you are 18 or over, and would like support for yourself, a friend or family member then feel free to come and join us.

Our next session for Adults is Wednesday 3rd June at 15.30 until 16.30.

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.

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 9348445 or email us at info@harmless.org.uk