New Years Eve is an interesting time of year…

New Years Eve is an interesting time of year. For some it is the opportunity to see in a new year, with hope and positivity; looking towards the future and all the plans that might unfold for the twelve months ahead. For others it is just a day to be with family and friends and to raise a glass together, enjoy good company and countdown to midnight as merely a passing of time where tomorrow we have to remember that we are in a new year.

For some, the turning of the New Year is a difficult and painful time. Where some look to the future with hope, others find the New Year a time to reflect on how unhappy they have been in the past year or beyond. Hopelessness may seep into their world and they may feel as though nothing is ever going to change. Many people that Harmless and The Tomorrow Project have worked with, describe the New Year period as a time to reflect and for those that have had a really tough time, that period of reflection may lead them down a dark path. There is nothing worse than looking to the future and feeling as though there is no point anymore.

Hopelessness can be crippling. It can make even the strongest person feel depressed and alone, but worse than that, it can truly make you question whether life is worth living. It is. It can get better. But at the times when hopelessness is rife it is important to look after ourselves and the ones that we love who might be feeling this way.

New Year is typically one of those times. We encourage each and every one of you to keep an eye on those friends who seem a little distant, who may be isolated or seem withdrawn or unhappy. Although many of us find ways of protecting others from our feelings when we are feeling low, it is so important to share the burden of struggle, if there is one.

This New Year, let’s each vow to look out for the ones that we love and try to make 2016 a safe and happy year. If you are someone that is struggling right now and you can identify with any of these words, reach out. Tell someone how you are feeling. Seek support. Next year might just be a turning point with the right help.

Try not to drink too much, stay with or close to people you know well and trust and try not to isolate yourself and let’s help you take the safe first steps into the New Year.

If you are in crisis and need some support right now please call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, or call Hopeline on 0800 068 41 41. If you would like support from ourselves, feel free to email us and we will get in touch in the New Year.

A few words from a young service user about their experience of accessing our self harm services

As we say goodbye to 2015 and welcome 2016, we thought we’d take this opportunity to share a story we posted at Christmas last year. An inspirational story written by a young person who accessed support from Harmless.

‘Where do you start when your asked to write a blog on such a serious and sensitive topic? Especially when it’s to inform the many people effected how you were affected by a serious issue that can effect anyone! I suppose a good way to start would be the effects that self harm had on me.

I thought I was alone. I thought I was different. I thought everything was my fault. I thought self harm was the only option and nobody at all could help me change that. I thought wrong.

Of course it wasn’t easy but the things worth doing never are, but this was my first step to recovery and the beginning of a new chapter of my life.

I thought I’d give Harmless a go. After all if I didn’t like it I didn’t have to go again. The first week was scary, the tension was building up as the day got closer but that’s completely normal, just like trying anything you haven’t done before.

I met Adrienne, she seemed nice so I went again. I found the first few weeks a bit scary but as time went on I got more comfortable. One week had turned in to two weeks, two into three and eventually three into a year and a half.

I was terrified teenager, struggling to cope with everyday occurrences and self harming to get through each day. Thanks to Harmless I am me again. The past is a learning curve for me and the people I love and although I can’t predict the future I’m pretty sure it will be a bright, but that’s thanks to Harmless for helping me secure one. Without them I would still be surrounded by all the negative thoughts that are now behind me. All you have to remember is everybody deserves happiness, including you. Now when the going gets tough I know where to go.’

For more information about our services, please visit our website www.harmless.org.uk or email info@harmless.org.uk

Harmless Self Harm Drop-in’s Scheduled for January

Harmless would like to invite you to attend one of our Monthly Drop In Support Group meetings throughout January. The dates are as follows

Adult drop in for those aged 18 and over – Wednesday 6th January 2016 at 14:00 – 15:00

Young Person drop in for those aged up to 21 years – Wednesday 13th January at 16:30 – 17:30

Our sessions are friendly and welcoming. We create a relaxed atmosphere with approachable staff who provide important information explaining how our service can support you, your friends and family or a colleague. We can offer information or advice about any concerns you may have about self harm.

You will have the opportunity to meet Val our experienced and qualified therapist and Colin, our experienced and friendly Project Worker.

All drop in sessions will take place at the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service Building, 7 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

Saving lives with Suicide Intervention Skills training

As the festive season approaches, the team at Harmless wanted to equip more members of the public and professionals to support those at immediate risk of suicide, at what can be an extremely emotional, challenging and difficult time for individuals, which can then result in people being at even greater risk of taking their own life. To do this myself and our Trainer, Sarah, delivered Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training at the start of December.

The training was attended by a range of individuals including members of the community and professionals that have had experiences in both personal and professional life, which meant there was a real desire to learn specific, life assisting skills, in order to save lives.

The training was an extremely positive experience, with the delegates really engaging and participating in each section of the workshop. There were many discussions taking place, which explored attitudes, shared knowledge and good practice. It was an ideal opportunity to really engage in the subject and ensure delegates felt confident in the fact they could respond in an effective way to individuals to influence the lives of those in distress.

The group worked hard to challenge stigma and discrimination addressing various misconceptions around suicide. One of the biggest misconceptions is that talking and asking about suicide increases the risk by ‘putting ideas into people’s heads’. This is most definitely not the case. By talking more about it can actually do the complete opposite and save lives. If you are in distress and are having thoughts of suicide, it is really important to talk to someone about suicide and your thoughts and feelings. People can and do recover from their thoughts of wanting to end their life. There is hope and by taking that step, talking to someone and sharing how you feel, could be that step that saves your life.

If you need immediate support over the next couple of weeks, please call the Hope Line on 0800 068 41 41 or the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90

Our next ASIST delivery is 30th and 31st March 2016. For more information or to book a place, please call 0115 934 8445 and ask for Sophie Allen or email training@harmless.org.uk

Merry Christmas From Harmless and The Tomorrow Project

On behalf of the Harmless and Tomorrow Project team, we hope you all have a safe and happy Christmas.

As we said yesterday, Christmas isn’t an easy time for everyone. While some of us are celebrating with our families, others are suffering, often in silence. People can feel isolated at this time of year, alone, or because this time of year is a time of reflection, can feel mournful and sad. It’s important to notice people around you and how they’re feeling. Often it’s not the grand gestures that can make a difference to how someone is feeling but the simple things- a phone call or text, a hug and a chat.

Christmas isn’t an easy time for everyone…

Christmas isn’t an easy time for everyone. While some of us are celebrating with our families, others are suffering, often in silence. People can feel isolated at this time of year, alone, or because this time of year is a time of reflection, can feel mournful and sad. It’s important to notice people around you and how they’re feeling. Often it’s not the grand gestures that can make a difference to how someone is feeling but the simple things- a phone call or text, a hug and a chat.

Often people don’t know what to do when faced with someone who is struggling, but it’s simple, just be for there for them. Notice they’re feelings and don’t be afraid to ask how they’re doing, but most of all just make sure you make time for them.

Christmas can be especially hard for those with emotional health difficulties, people who have experienced huge loss in their life, or who self harm. These things can improve with time with the right help and support.

Never lose hope, and hoping everyone makes it through this time of year safe and well.

Poem, written by a Service User

As it is the Christmas Period, we thought we would re-share with you all a poem that we posted earlier this month, written by a service user:

 

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.

Good tidings to all…

So far my time at Harmless has been the most jam packed, thrill inducing, challenge to date! You are welcomed into their arms from the very first day you arrive with a warm smile and from that point there is no holding back. I may only have been here 5 months but I already feel a part of the Harmless family.

Care and appreciation are a big part of Harmless ethos and these characteristics run throughout everything Harmless does. Whether it was standing by me during my first delivery or fixing all my technical mishaps all members of the Harmless team act with integrity and authenticity. This care and appreciation runs within their veins and can be seen in every small or big task they take on. Every event, every project is met with the same level of passion and enthusiasm as the one before, if not more! It is transparent that those working for Harmless work with the purpose to make a difference.

Since joining the team my life has become a thrilling adventure. So far I have delivered to roughly 600 individuals, attended numerous conferences mixed with inspirational speakers and researchers, celebrated our company’s achievements, been on TV and supported the creation of film clips. I have had various job roles over the years but this is a job I have truly fallen in love with. I look forward to a restful holiday but anticipate an exciting new year to come.

My thoughts and well wishes go out to all!

Sarah, Harmless Trainer

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

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 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 he 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: How schizophrenia changed the whole course of my life

Alice Evans was at university when she developed schizophrenia. She didn’t leave her parents’ house for the next ten years. 

I was about 20 and studying at university when I first became seriously unwell. I’d come from a small rural village in Devon, with my bags in tow, and it was the first time I’d even really been to a city.

When I got to university it was daunting for me to be away from home but I made some friends, and was enjoying my drama course. I couldn’t shake depressive thoughts I’d had during my teenage years though.

I was working three jobs to make my rent and on top of my degree it proved to be too much.

Eventually I stopped sleeping entirely and that was when the problems really started.

 

For the full story…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/disability-34537499?SThisFB