‘Get over it’

As I sat and reflected before 2 days of Mental Health First Aid Training, I started thinking about anxiety, more specifically,  phobias and fears.

As a mental health condition, anxiety is a condition that is disregarded very quickly and easily by society, however anxiety is an extremely debilitating mental health condition.

Something I find really challenging is when someone has a genuine fear and people are so quick to shrug it off as irrational or pathetic. It’s doesn’t matter if it is ‘irrational’ it is still real for that person! I’m quite sure at some point in all our lives we have all experienced fear in some sense, whether it be of an object, a situation, a social occasion, a place, or anything at all. I’m sure we all know what fear feels like. Even if you have ever only experienced it for a short period of time when a situation hasn’t felt quite right or before you did something out your comfort zone that scared you for a couple of minutes, we’ve all felt that overwhelming sense of fear.

The thing is with fear, when a person experiences a real fear for them (and important to state here is that what may seem pathetic and insignificant to one person could have huge significance for someone else) all that person can think about is the worst case scenario!  I’m going to die, I won’t survive this situation,  this is too much and this feeling is overpowering and all consuming! At that point a person can’t rationalise how they’re feeling. They can’t make sense of that situation to say ‘actually, no, what am I thinking? All is good and I am safe’. People can’t rationalise those thoughts and feelings.

I write this thinking of my own experience of my biggest fear. Flying. See, now I love travelling and have travelled all round the world seeing and experiencing some amazing places and cultures and never used to have any problem flying. However, a number of years ago, I had a panic attack on a flight home from a family holiday. I’d never experienced that on a plane before and found it extremely distressing. Ever since that flight I have been utterly terrified of flying. To the point of even thinking about going on a plane or seeing planes in films gets my pulse racing and my palms sweating, leads me to have bad dreams and just generally feeling terrified and panicked.

I think what I find the most difficult to get my head round is when I have people telling me to ‘get over it’ or ‘you need to get over your fear of flying’ or ‘stop being stupid’. At that moment in time I don’t need someone telling me I need to ‘get over it’. If I knew how to do that I would have done it ages ago because I don’t like to feel scared, I don’t like complete strangers seeing me nervous and panicked, I don’t like feeling like I am going to die because I’m thinking the worst case scenario!! I don’t like to be afraid but I am and I need support for that. I need someone to say ‘you’ll be ok’ or ‘you’re safe, you’re not on your own, I’m here with you’

How is my fear of flying any different from your fear of heights or your fear of bees or your fear of spiders or your fear of meeting new people and social occasions or whatever it is you fear?  Why is it OK for you to feel scared but not me?

So basically,  I guess the point I’m trying to get across is that fears and phobias are real! They’re debilitating! They’re all consuming!  We all know what fear feels like, so next time I’m scared and I feel alone and vulnerable, how about you take a little time to think about how you feel when faced with your phobia and then think about the support you would need and apply that to others.

Mental Health First Aid Training is being delivered again by Harmless on 21 and 22nd January. Come along and gain the confidence and skills to respond effectively to anxiety and other mental health conditions.

Contact sophie@harmless.org.uk for more details.

One of our clients has written a poem about Harmless, and they would like to share it with you…

I’ve been going to a place,

Based right here in Notts,

Recommended by my CPN,

And it’s helped me lots and lots.

You don’t need a referral,

Just go along and see,

To the regular drop ins,

That’s what worked for me.


Just look at the website,

It says the usual stuff,

But also gives you the support you need,

If you’re finding things quite tough.

It’s for people just like me,

Who use self harm to cope,

It offers advice for your loved ones too,

It’s about recovery and hope.


You’ll get a chance to air your views,

To sit and say what goes,

Because the staff listen well,

And know it’s you that knows.

But what you’ll find you’ll also get,

Is the good advice you need,

Techniques to try, strategies to help you,

Get back up to speed.


It’s the sort of place you need,

To help you feel strong,

It helps to know you’re not alone,

And that somehow you belong.

But it offers you a future,

And gives you a little bit more,

It makes you take a little glimpse,

Of what you were like before.


Don’t get me wrong, I know

It could be a long and winding haul,

But put your foot onto the path,

It helps to start quite small.

Being Safe Online

One of our therapists recently attended some training on how to keep safe online. They wanted to share some of information with you that they thought might be helpful.

The internet can be a magical place, but it is important that it is used safely. Everything you do online is captured forever. You wouldn’t leave your front door open to strangers, and so it is important to create a sensible password and use different password for each account.

If you wouldn’t do it face to face, you shouldn’t do it online. You wouldn’t go up to a complete stranger and start a conversation. Remember not to say things online that you wouldn’t talk about in conversations with your family.

Don’t be put under pressure to do something you don’t want to do. Ask yourself ‘Why am I doing this’? If someone cares about you they would not put you under pressure.

Would you put this information on a notice board?

Once it’s gone – it’s gone, and you can lose control of it.

Think before you send and share.

It could affect you or someone else.

If you wouldn’t want your parents to see it, then don’t post it.

Remember it you are under 18 years old. It’s illegal to take or share an indecent picture of yourself, or to look at or share someone else’s.

If you are affected by bullying please talk to someone you can trust for help and support.

In the News: Male suicide is a public health crisis – so why are we still ignoring it?

Men like me still feel ashamed to ask for help, and with NHS mental health services failing it’s no wonder.

“Things like that don’t happen to people like me”. That’s what I’d told myself for years. What did I have to be depressed about? Nothing at all, actually, but that isn’t the way it works.

There’s nothing to make you reconsider your assumptions quite like sitting in a room with someone you’ve never met while they ask you to rank your suicidal feelings on a scale of one to 10. I doubt I’ll ever forget what the doctor told me, or the way he said it. “Please don’t spend too much time by yourself, that would be a risk”, as if he was telling me not to drink too many fizzy drinks.

I wouldn’t even know where to start in describing what rock bottom feels like, apart from to say that I wouldn’t wish for anyone else to find out. Mental illness isn’t pleasant and it certainly isn’t easy to talk about. That is why it has taken me so long to be able to discuss my problems and seek help – and that is why so many thousands of other people suffer alone and in silence.

In this country we have a problem that we can’t shy away from anymore. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, and last year 12 men died by their own hand every single day. That is a public health crisis, but we aren’t talking about it enough.

There is some evidence that attitudes are slowly changing. Mental healthcare is higher up the political agenda than ever before, with politicians from across the spectrum promising “parity of esteem” between mental and physical health. Yet the stigma and taboo surrounding mental illness is still a huge problem, with a recent CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) survey finding that many men stay silent about their problems because they felt ashamed and didn’t want to talk about their feelings or make a fuss.

These fears can be worse than the illness itself, and they are what made me bottle my own problems up and resist help. But I don’t see how the situation can even begin to change without more men speaking up saying that it isn’t a sign of weakness to suffer.

For the full story;


If you would like any more information about what services Harmless provide, or how we can support you, please send an email to info@harmless.org.uk.

Harmless Self Harm Drop-in Tomorrow

Our next Harmless self harm drop in for Adult is

Wednesday  25th October at 2pm – 3pm for adults aged 18 and over.

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

Would you like to appear in a series of short Mental Health films?

Are you interested in featuring in some short films surrounding mental health conditions. Harmless are looking for individuals that have lived experience of depression, bipolar, anxiety and psychosis to share your experience of living with a disorder, treatment, experience of services, recovery, how you stay well, impact on family and friends;

Living with your condition – e.g symptoms, how it affected your day to day life, your relationships, your professional or personal life

Stigma and discrimination – did you face stigma and discrimination? Some examples of what you experienced

The support you have received and recovery – what has helped, what hasn’t? Who have you gone to for support? Focusing on the positives of your recovery

By appearing in the short films, you can share your experiences and give hope by inspiring others to receive the help and support they need and will also be used to challenge stigma and discrimination

Are you a professional with a clear understanding of mental health that can share your experience of supporting individuals with their recovery and also how to support others with their recovery?

Filming will take place on 7th and 8th December in Nottingham (location TBC) in between 9:00am and 5:00pm

If you would like to get involved, please contact sophie@harmless.org.uk

Men & Suicide: Do you know the facts?

1. Statistically speaking, two in every five male friends you know will have thought about suicide at some point. Some 42% of men aged 18-45 have considered taking their life as a way out of their problems.

2. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK. Bigger than drug and alcohol-related deaths, bigger than traffic accidents, and bigger than disease and illness.

3. Last year, there were 4,623 male suicides in the UK. To put that figure in perspective, the number of male deaths caused by road traffic accidents, murder, and HIV/AIDS in 2014 totals 1,631 combined – just over one third of that figure

4. On average, 12 men take their own life every single day. That’s one person every two hours. 

5. But when it comes to suicide, men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women. Of the total 6,109 deaths attributed to suicide last year, 76% of those were male. Or to put it another way, three in every four cases. 

6. Since 1981, female suicides have fallen by nearly 40%. What’s clear is that suicide cannot be viewed as a gender-blind problem. 

7. Of those that have considered suicide, 41% have never shared those feelings with anyone. They don’t feel confident talking about it with friends, family, and colleagues because they feel it’s not something a man should need support for, nor something they think is significant enough to burden others with. 

8. In fact, the most common reason for not talking is they simply didn’t want anyone to worry. In a CALM survey, the majority of those who admitted they did consider suicide, didn’t speak about it because they didn’t want anyone to worry, cause a fuss, or simply discuss their feelings. It shows just how inappropriate the idea is felt to be, and the fear of other people’s reactions. 

9. But the idea that men don’t want to talk isn’t exactly true. CALM received over 41,000 calls to its helpline in 2014, 80% of which were men – men of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. 

10. What IS true is that we’re not talking about it enough. None of us are. Celebrity tweets about vegan meatballs and countless other trivial topics generate more discussion than something that’s killing men every single day. Saying something is safer than saying nothing. Trust your gut, and start the conversation.

If you would like any more information on the support or training that Harmless and The Tomorrow Project can provide, please email us at info@harmless.org.uk.

Do you shop online? Would you like to raise money for Harmless while doing so?

Easyfundraising.org.uk is a great way to raise money for good causes such as Harmless, just by shopping online. And you don’t pay anything extra. Just follow these simple steps to start supporting Harmless by shopping online.

1. Start at easyfundraising

Let’s say you want to buy a pair of shoes from John Lewis. Instead of going to johnlewis.com directly, you first go to easyfundraising.org.uk.

2. Make a purchase

From the easyfundraising website, click through to John Lewis to make your purchase. This tells John Lewis you came from easyfundraising. The price of the shoes is exactly the same.

3. Get a donation

After you buy your shoes, John Lewis will give you a cash reward that you can turn into a donation for your good cause. Easyfundraising collect this and send it on at no extra cost.

To set up your FREE easyfundraising account and start supporting Harmless, click here.

In the News: Depression and self-harm soar among private school pupils

Survey of head teachers finds problems including eating disorders are now at unprecedented levels, with social media and exam stress blamed

Teenage pupils at British private schools are experiencing unprecedented levels of depression, eating disorders and self-harm, according to head teachers, who say longstanding stresses have been amplified by increased pressure over exams and the ever-present anxieties of social media.

The warning comes from the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), representing 175 leading private schools, which surveyed 65 head teachers on the subject.

The responses found that in some ways, schools appear to have become kinder places, with fewer cases of intolerance such as homophobic bullying, as well as less drug and alcohol misuse. However, they found greatly increased cyberbullying and online threats, and what the HMC called unprecedented levels of self-harm, depression and eating disorders among pupils.

Bernard Trafford, the headmaster of the Royal Grammar school in Newcastle upon Tyne and a former chair of HMC, told the Guardian that exam pressures played some role, with pupils facing higher grade requirements to get into top universities.

But a greater factor, he said, appeared to be the way social media made common teenage anxieties harder to escape, also exaggerating worries over such things as body image.

To read the full article, please visit: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/oct/04/depression-self-harm-eating-disorders-private-school-pupils-headteachers-poll

If you would like more information on the support we can provide, please email info@harmless.org.uk.

Is mental health being taken seriously?

One in four people experience mental health problems each year. Less than 1% of the total public health budget is being spent on mental health in the East Midlands.

The personal cost of having a mental health problem could be immeasurable, however so much of this is preventable if we target support to groups at risk of having a mental health problem in our local community.

There is supposed to be a shared vision that mental health should be on par with physical health. However the mental health charity Mind obtained information on public mental health spending under the Freedom of Information Act that showed just how much local money has been spent on public mental health. Any spending on public mental health is reported under ‘miscellaneous’. This has prompted a call to give public mental health its own category, which then makes it a clear priority for investment.

Prevention is better than a cure. There can be no health without mental health; and mental health is everyone’s business.

If you would like more information on the support we can provide, please contact us at: info@harmless.org.uk.