You may have seen recently our posts about our marathon runner Sophia Thorne. Sophia has started her training for the grueling 42km of the London Marathon this year. Recently she shared an incredibly brave blog post about why she is running for us, and we wanted to share this with you.
“Good evening guys. It’s been 3 weeks since I found out I had a place to run the London Marathon for The Tomorrow Project and I feel ready to talk about why this charity means so much to me. The heartbreaking story in the news this week about the beautiful Molly Russell has reminded me how important it is to talk about suicide, without stigma or judgement. So, this is the story of a family who had their hearts broken by suicide too.
This photo is of my Uncle Phil. He loved life, he was full of energy; the kind of energy that lights up a room without saying a word. He was my Mum’s little brother and the baby of the family. He was the best man at my Mum and Dad’s wedding and when their marriage broke down when I was 5 he became a father figure in my life. He taught me many things of great importance, such as Leicester City are the greatest football club on the face of the Earth, Emile Heskey is actually a saint and a song about Mark McGhee that I shouldn’t have known aged 11! To know Phil was to love him, he was just one of those people.
A few days after my 14th birthday Uncle Phil came to visit, this wasn’t unusual, he lived just down the road. That night was the last time I saw him alive. In the early hours of the next morning he took his own life and with it the life we, his family knew. When I look back now I feel my childhood ended there, after that the world was never the same.
20 years ago there was no helpline to call for a man who was struggling with life. In the 20 years since his death there have been a million “If only” moments, as is the case for anyone who has lost someone to suicide. I believe if he had a Tomorrow Project to talk to he’d still be here.
The impact his death had on us, his family was essentially total destruction. It felt like a grenade had exploded in the heart of us all but due to the stigma attached to suicide nobody quite knew how to deal with it. Watching my mum trying to continue to function in the days, weeks and years that followed still makes me cry. Again, I wish there was a Tomorrow Project there then to support us through the harrowing times.
I am running the London Marathon in memory of Uncle Phil but also in celebration of a broken heart that carried on, as I saw my mum’s do. When somebody takes their own life, it’s not just their life that they take.
So this is my motivation, this has been the most difficult post to write because I couldn’t joke it away, it’s something that even 20 years on is very raw. I apologise for it being this way but this is my suicide reality. If you can donate to the amazing The Tomorrow Project please use this link below
Thanks for all your support guys, you keep me going when it’s -1 outside ?
Prince William says employers should provide more support for people whose mental health is causing them problems at work “It should be so much easier to go to HR and talk about it,” he said during a speech in Switzerland.
He says bosses need to set the example, saying the change in culture “has to come from the top.” “For some reason, people are embarrassed about their emotions – British people particularly.”
The head of HSBC bank, John Flint, backed William’s calls for change, saying: “There’s a profound difference between when I’m feeling my best and when I’m not.” And his words ring true to people like Joe, who admits he has taken days off work due to “general sickness” when his mental health was poor.
“It is a real problem and it needs more investment,” Joe tells Radio 1 Newsbeat. He works for a social media company in Manchester.
“Having people such as Prince William, who is really proficient in the conversation going on nowadays, is a massive step and it’s great.”
Joe says his company understands his OCD and even has a team dedicated to looking after employees’ happiness.
“It’s a very present conversation that social media can have adverse effects on mental health,” he says.
“They work with mental health charities and some really good resources that mean that I don’t feel out of my depth if I am having a bad day – which has not happened in a long time.
“There’s an on-hand therapist that we pay, that any member of staff can use at any time.”
Joe’s mental health worsened after he was at the Manchester Arena in May 2017, when a bomber killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert.
‘Mental health has always been swept under the carpet’
Joe says previous employers didn’t understand the importance of providing mental health care to its employees and that it’s only as people have become more aware of its importance that workplaces have been able to support their staff.
“The more we talk about it the more informed and educated everybody is going to be,” he says.
“My last employer wasn’t bad. It’s just that it was under the carpet and always has been.”
Kat, who lives near Oxford, is also in a position where her workplace has processes in place where she can access support when she is struggling.
“I’ve had issues with anxiety and depression for most of my life but have always had support in my job as a project manager, especially from my line manager,” Kat tells Newsbeat.
“She listens to me, she checks in with me and allows me to work flexibly when things are really hard.
“Because of that, it’s helped me to stay in work and keep doing my job and not have to take time off.”
But unfortunately, there are still people in the UK who don’t feel like their employers understand the importance of their staff’s mental health.
‘I feel like my company wants to get rid of me’
Danny, a lorry driver from the West Midlands tells Newsbeat he feels like his company “doesn’t believe mental health issues are a real thing.”
He says he’s suffered from mental health problems since 2014 when his son died.
“I feel like it’s a problem they’d rather see the back of and that they’re doing what they can to get rid of me,” he says.
Other people, like Rebecca from South Wales, were able to turn their experience with an employer who didn’t provide support into a positive situation.
“I used to work in a supermarket in Cardiff until I suffered a few bereavements,” Rebecca says.
“My mental health went downhill and I was called into the office to see whether I should stay on at the company or not.
“I am now a self-employed dog-walker and I really enjoy my job. My mental health has been at it’s best ever since I started.”
Link to original blog: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-46987539
Harmless’ third national self harm conference will be held on Friday 1st March 2019, Self Harm Awareness Day. This year’s theme is: ‘our young people: intervention & early intervention for improved outcomes’.
£150 per delegate place*
2 delegate places for £200*
The theme of our conference is Our young people: intervention & early intervention for improved outcomes.
Harmless recognises that self harm affects a broad range of individuals, facing many diverse experiences; reducing the number of individuals that self harm requires contributions from across society and includes education, prevention, intervention and postvention work.
This exciting new event will bring together private, public, voluntary and community sector organisations, individuals with lived experience of self harm and practitioners & academics in the field of self harm in an ethos of joint working and shared experience.
Our conference is themed around five strategic areas:
- Collaborative partnership,
- Service user representation,
- Effective practice,
- Driving change &
- Overcoming stigma and discrimination.
Delegates can expect to take away from the conference a range of knowledge, inspiration and practical applications for the implementation in real life personal and professional situations. Learning from some of the leaders in the field, delegates will have access to interactive sessions that can drive change in the field of self harm.
Dr Nav Kapur
Dr Alys Cole-King
Prof. Siobhan O’Neill
Dr Sarah Cassidy
We are so proud of Sophia in her training to run the London Marathon, in aid of our service. Sophia has created a Facebook page where you can follow her training journey from 5k to 42k, and today we were particularly blown away by the determination and strength Sophia showed. She described in her blog a moment of panic and doubt 3 miles in, before finding the motivation to finish the further 9 miles. What an incredible hurdle to overcome!
We are so proud of this phenomenal journey Sophia is sharing, the whole service is behind you!!!
To follow Sophia’s journey: https://www.facebook.com/ThisMumisontheRun/
To donate: https://localgiving.org/fundraising/this-mum-is-on-the-run/
Join specialist trainer and workshop leader Claire Dixon for an exploration of self harm as a response to childhood adversity. This fantastic and informative workshop will explore the severity and frequency of self harm as a result of difficult and adverse experiences.
Attendees will discuss the function of self harm for young people, and highlight the importance of trauma-informed care in responding to self harm.
You will leave this workshop with a consideration of self harm prevention as a vital and important step in preventing youth suicide.
This workshop will be hosted by Claire, specialist trainer at Let’s Talk Training. Claire has many years of experience working across the mental health sector. She’s an energetic and engaging person who will make a difficult topic digestible and enjoyable.
For tickets or more information please visit: http://www.harmless.org.uk/store/self-harm-conference-2019