In the News: Have men been let down over mental health?

“He was the life and soul of the party, but inside he was battling serious demons. He was a 25-year-old man who looked to have everything going for him, but he couldn’t vocalise his problems.” That is how Rowland Bennett describes his best friend Charlie Berry, who took his own life a year ago.

Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 49 in the UK, and men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women. According to campaigners, most men thinking about suicide never talk to anyone about the problems that have brought them to crisis point.

After his friend’s death, Bennett, a booker and promoter in the music industry, became involved with the male suicide awareness charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), organising its 10th anniversary fundraiser night in London. “Since I’ve been involved, I’ve heard more and more people say ‘I lost a friend’ or ‘My mate, the party guy, killed himself’ – everyone has got those stories,” he says. “Men don’t want to be that guy talking about depression. They want to be the character people think they are.”

Male suicide research by the charity Samaritans suggests men often compare themselves against a “gold standard” of masculinity which is often incredibly difficult to live up to. The charity has highlighted the issue for middle-aged men, who have the highest rate of suicide of any age group. Research manager Elizabeth Scowcroft says that is probably down to a combination of factors, including relationship breakdown and financial pressures. “We need to think about ways we can engage with those who are most at risk, targeting the right people, encouraging them to seek help,” she says. “It’s about talking to people earlier rather than once they are at crisis point and feel they want to take their own lives.”

Calm’s chief executive, Jane Powell, says rather than focusing on particular risk groups, society needs to see suicide as an “every man” issue. “What’s frustrating is there is an overwhelming sexism when it comes to looking at this. At what point are we going to look at why more men – regardless of age – take their own lives than women?”

Click the following link to read the full article:

‘This is hard to read’

Anyone who thinks that grief after suicide is anything like a bereavement of other sorts, is wrong!

It might have things in common. Huge loss and longing. Funerals. Crippling grief. But it also brings with it complexities that only traumatic loss ever brings. That’s not to say bereavement of any kind is easier or harder, just different and  it is vital to acknowledge those differences.

With suicide, the person chose to die. They didn’t die because their bodies gave out, or because of a tragic accident. They chose to depart. And usually those left in their world struggle to understand how this loved human being, chose death over their life with us.

Whether the next day they would have still made that choice is left to be seen. 

Whether if they’d had support in that moment, it would have been different, we will never know.

What they needed in order to stay, we cannot put right.

What they were thinking in those moments are just guesses. 

Suicide leaves unanswered questions and that is one of the hardest parts of bereavement by suicide. The only person that could answer those questions is gone. 

We can’t tell them we love them, or would have helped them through. 

We can’t tell them we’d have found a way if they had come to us.

We can’t hold them until it is better.

We can’t give them the hope that we had for them, they’re gone.

Instead we hold onto it for a while, hoping this is going to stop… disappear… not be true… that they’ll come back.

And we don’t know why they did it. Not really. 

If things had been different, what the outcome would have been. We don’t know where the blame for their death lies. We question what we could have done differently or how we contributed to their last decision. We search for answers; resolve.

Life is a complicated mess of experiences, where experiences mesh with experiences to lead us down this path of life. The choices that we make, the choices that others make around us, somehow lead some of us to these all-too-often fatal outcomes. 

Usually, there is not one experience that contributes to the reason someone takes their life; not a moment in time that drives them there but these complicated internal experiences in relation to every moment spent on earth that accumulate towards this fatal decision.

Yet, guilt is held in so many of the families, friends and colleagues that we see. The ‘what ifs’; the blame; the remorse; the guilt; the shame; the why? 

Followed by anger. Agony. Disbelief.

It varies. It changes. 

The one thing that’s so consistent about suicide is that it as an avoidable tragedy that is hard to ever reconcile. It destroys lives. It is different for every single person that faces it, and people often struggle to share their thoughts about suicide. 

So let’s start to do that today- not wait until our family and friends are effected… because they will be. I see people fundraising for cancer research in the realisation that many of us will now experience a cancer diagnosis or bereavement in our lifetime; many of us already have. I commend these endeavours because not only are we raising money to battle cancer, we are talking about it- sharing our worries, our fears, our losses and that’s healthy and united.

Suicide is the one other certainty I can depressingly endorse- suicide is the biggest killer in the UK- the second biggest killer of our young people- the largest cause of death to our men. 

We will know it in our world at some point, even if we’ve escaped it thus far. We will face it in our families, our friends, ourselves… we will contemplate death or support someone who is desperate or console ourselves after a death. Suicide isn’t uncommon. 

Let’s talk now. Please.

It might just save a life. 

If you want to know more about what we’re up to and the work we do or how to get involved, have a look at our website, or contact us at 

NEW Creative Therapy Group

Harmless will be running their next Adult Creative Therapy group in June 2017. The creative therapy group will be for individuals aged from 18 years onwards, with weekly sessions focusing on expression of emotions, connections and self esteem. 

The aim of the creative therapy group is to assist people to find a way of expression that helps them connect with their emotions. This will include techniques that can be used for self expression and personal growth. 

The Creative Therapy Group sessions will be held weekly on a Wednesday Evening 5 pm until 7 pm.

If you know of any adult who you think would be interested in attending this group, or to find out more information, please feel free to contact

Therapeutic Support Services

Harmless provide free therapeutic support to both adults and young people. Our age range covers from 11 years up to 70 years. We provide both long term and short term therapy:

  • Short term therapy may last up to 12 sessions with reviews.
  • Long term therapy can last up to 2 years with reviews.

We provide short term community outreach therapeutic clinics in for both adults and children for up to 12 sessions.

We offer monthly drop in support sessions creating a relaxed atmosphere, offering information and advice.

  • Young Person (11-21Yrs) Wednesday 31st May 2017 4 – 5 pm
  • Adult (18+ Yrs) Wednesday 7th June 2017 4 – 5 pm.

Drop in sessions are held at Nottingham Community and Voluntary Centre on Mansfield Road (opposite House of Fraser).

We provide monthly a Crisis Café, where people can come along for some informal support.

  • Our next Crisis Café is Wednesday 14th June 3.30 – 4.30 pm

We offer skype provision, so that people from out of the area wishing to receive remote support can have skype sessions.

If you would like any more information, please email us at

Would you like to join the Harmless & Let’s Talk Training team?

We are currently recruiting for the following position to join our Let’s Talk Training team on a sessional basis:

MHFA Trainer (Bank Staff)

The deadline for applications is 30th June 2017, with interviews to take place  w/c 24th July 2017

For an application form and job description, or for more information please email or call 0115 934 8445 (admin line only). Please include the job title you are applying for in your email.



Hours: Bank Staff


  • £150 per day (£300 per 2-day delivery)
  • 25p per mile travel
  • Hotel accommodation for night of Day one (Booked By Harmless)



This role will be ideal for those who have recently qualified to become MHFA instructors.


  • Deliver MHFA training on behalf of Harmless and its associated projects to external parties including (but not limited to) external organisations, school, professionals and carers.
  • A willingness to offer personal experience during training delivery by sharing own experiences of distress (and/or self harm) and recovery (in line with Harmless’ service user led ethos)
  • A willingness to travel (nationwide) with occasional overnight stay as required.
  • Represent Harmless in a professional manner at all times
  • Deliver training against agreed learning outcomes
  • Develop and maintain training content in line with changes in the field and to the highest standard upon negotiation with the Harmless Management Team
  • Maintain excellent professional relationships with delegates and/or organisations with a view to secure future training opportunities
  • Be an integral part of the booking process with support from the administration team
  • To ensure all data collection tools are used to monitor and improve upon training delivery
  • Ensure training materials are appropriate for delegates requirements
  • Report to Harmless management regularly about the progress of training and address any issues that may arise, recording relevant statistics where required.
  • Promote the work of Harmless in a positive manner and recommend resources and alternative training opportunities where possible.
  • Maintain excellent relationships with delegates and/or organisations before, during and after training delivery
  • To work with Harmless management in continuously improving Harmless’ training packages including (but not limited to) current content, delivery methods, course materials and handouts, booking process.
  • To work with Harmless management in designing and delivering new training packages in order to meet current demands in training, compete with other organisations and increase revenue.
  • To be aware of safeguarding issues that may arise and follow Harmless protocol in managing this.

For an application form and job description, or for more information please email or call 0115 934 8445 (admin line only). Please include the job title you are applying for in your email.

John Lewis & Waitrose supporting Harmless

Community Matters, May – August 

The team at Harmless work tirelessly each day to support the local and wider community who are struggling with their mental and emotional wellbeing, self harm and those at risk of suicide. The work we do is critical and ultimately it saves lives. At Harmless we know mental health doesn’t discriminate, so neither do we.

We are very excited to have been selected by John Lewis and Waitrose to be part of the Community Matters scheme. The scheme running for four months, has £3000 to share between three organisations, and the pot of money is divided by the amount of tokens placed in each organisations pot.

We are a non profit organisation and rely on the support on the community to keep our life saving services afloat. Help us save lives by popping into John Lewis/Waitrose and putting a green token in the pot! Every single coin will make a difference and you really will be helping us save lives.

In the News: Facebook and Twitter ‘harm young people’s mental health’

Four of the five most popular forms of social media harm young people’s mental health, with Instagram the most damaging, according to research by two health organisations.

Instagram has the most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing, a survey of almost 1,500 14- to 24-year-olds found, and the health groups accused it of deepening young people’s feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

The survey, published on Friday, concluded that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are also harmful. Among the five only YouTube was judged to have a positive impact.

The four platforms have a negative effect because they can exacerbate children’s and young people’s body image worries, and worsen bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the participants said.


To read the full article, please click the following link:

Self-Care Sundays

The day of rest, the day of roasts.

This Sunday, why not take some time to look after yourself?

Have brunch with a friend. Take the dog for a walk. Take your family to the park. Bake a cake and eat the whole thing (if you don’t cut it… it counts as one piece). Do some gardening. Treat yourself to a new outfit.

Self care is so important. We often don’t take the time out we deserve. We put our needs aside and focus on someone else’s.

Why don’t you simply devote this Sunday to loving yourself more?

We would love to hear about your self care!

Mental Health Today – Wales #MHTWales17

Last week I was invited to speak at the Mental Health Today conference in Cardiff. I set off on the Tuesday afternoon to make my way and was greeted to Wales with sun filled valleys and lush, green hill tops- what a sight!

As I entered Cardiff the scenery changed to a hive of activity, with tall buildings and busy people. I found my way through the traffic to my destination, the Premier Inn. With the extra excuse of it being Mental Health Awareness week I made sure I had a delicious hot meal and enjoyed a bubble bath with my first Lush (Handmade cosmetics) bath bomb.

With approximately 400 people attending the conference I was excited to mingle and meet new faces. The day of the conference was one of inspiration and hope. So many people and so many experiences to share! One particular presentation from Cyfle Cymru really stuck out for me, with a service user sharing their story with us. He mentioned the importance of creating space to do the things we want to do and taking the time to understand what getting well meant. I felt this message was such an important one for all of us to take note of. If we are to thrive it is essential we let ourselves explore what this looks like and how it will be done.

Before long it was my turn to present. Many people tell me I am confident when presenting, something I still struggle to accept after many years of managing my anxiety. As many of you may agree it is surprising just how much can go through your mind before you step up to speak. One of the last thoughts I had, whilst taking deep breaths and walking up to the stand, was how awe-inspiring it was to have so many people gathered together in one space all with the same mission to help improve the lives of those with mental health conditions- and I was lucky enough to contribute to this.

The whole day radiated hope and drive for constant change and I look forward to experiencing more of this atmosphere again at our own National conference on the 1st March, From Harm to Hope.

For more feedback on what took place at Mental Health Today and to read the interview I had on how best to support those who self harm please click here.

For more information on our own conference, From Harm to Hope email:


Barbecue & Blues Band Extravaganza @ The Cross Keys in Burton Joyce – 28th May 2017 from 12pm

Everyone is welcome to come and chill at a Barbecue & Blues Band extravaganza, featuring “Webbo and the Soft Boys” at The Cross Keys, Burton Joyce on Sunday 28th May from 12 noon.

There will be a fabulous menu be you a Carnivore or Herbivore, details to follow.

This is in Support of the Henry Chowdhury fund, setup to highlight the need for improved mental health services for young people locally. All profits from this bash will go to Harmless, providing self harm and suicide prevention support to those in need, their friends, families and professionals.