FREE Mental Health & Suicide Prevention / Intervention training in Nottinghamshire!

Nottinghamshire County Council have commissioned Harmless to deliver a range of Mental Health awareness and Suicide prevention accredited courses

Please note, you must be a resident or supporting people who reside in Nottinghamshire to qualify for a place on this training course.

To book onto a course, please click the following link:

To book onto a course, please click the following link:

Level 1 Mental Health and Suicide Awareness training

  • Half day course
  • Suitable for members of the community and volunteers
  • To increase awareness of people in communities and volunteers involved in community schemes about mental health and suicide prevention and to reduce stigma

Level 2 Mental Health and Suicide Awareness training

  • Half day course
  • Suitable for third sector frontline workers working with adults with low level mental health support needs (who are able to self-manage)
  • For up-skilling frontline workers e.g. community health champions to work alongside social prescribing/community support models with adults with low level mental health support needs who are able to self-manage

Level 3 Mental Health intervention training

  • Half day course
  • Suitable for third sector frontline workers working with adults known to be vulnerable to poor mental health (medium mental health needs/ may have more than one coexisting physical/mental health condition)
  • For up-skilling frontline workers who have contact with adults with medium mental health support needs who may have one or more additional co-existing condition e.g. a long term condition such as type 2 diabetes and require support from more than one agency

Level 4 Suicide intervention training

  • Full day course
  • Suitable for third sector frontline workers working with adults vulnerable to suicide risk
  • For skilling up workers to recognise the signs of suicidal risk, increase confidence in initiating a conversation and gain prevention and intervention skills to support individuals to seek appropriate help.


For more information feel free to speak to a member of Let’s Talk Training

  • Email:
  • Phone: 0115 880 0281

Bristol nursery promoting imaginative play

A preschool is trialing a no-toys rule for a month, to see what effect it has on the children. Illminster Avenue Nursery School in Knowle West, Bristol, has swapped the plastic toys for cardboard boxes and train tickets.
It says the move is not about depriving the children, but challenging their play and learning experiences. Supporting the children to develop imaginative play.
Click the link to watch a short video about this exciting experiment.

Mother’s Day and grief
Mother’s day and the lead up can be extremely difficult for anyone whose mum or child has died. The day may bring with it many painful and difficult feelings, and we wanted to reach out to support you on this day. Take some time on this day to really look after yourself and do things that you know normally you enjoy.
Sometimes the anticipation of certain times of year can be worse than the actual days themselves. Perhaps the most important thing is to simply recognise that the upcoming days or weeks might be hard.
It’s OK if you don’t want to go out
Sometimes just having a nice bunch of flowers or a photo to look at, in the comfort of your home, and a still moment of reflection can help you through the day.
Spend time outdoors
Research shows us that spending time in nature makes us feel happier. Spending time outdoors to reflect and take comfort in nature may be helpful particularly on this day.
Be kind to yourself
You may feel emotionally drained and it’s important to really put yourself first today. Whatever it means to support you….a dinner you love, an exercise class, walk in the park, your favourite movie. Be gentle with yourself today. You’re doing your best and your best is good enough.
Reach out if you need support
If you are struggling reach out to someone you feel close to. Or if you know the day will be hard, speak to a friend or family member and pre arrange company on this day.
Involve children in decisions on the day
Involving children on decision for the day empowers them and will support them through the day. Ask them and really listen empathically to how they feel about Mother’s Day. Provide them with a safe space where they are able to explore the feelings this day is bringing up. They may even come up with a wonderfully creative and imaginative idea for the day. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Don’t feel guilty
Allow yourself to enjoy moments when they happen and don’t feel bad when they do. It’s ok to be sad and it’s ok to be happy. This is normal, healthy and human. We all manage differently and that’s okay too.
If you need support on this day…
Marie Curie are free to call on Mother’s day 10am-4pm on 0800 090 2309
Cruse Bereavement Care are going live on Facebook at 3pm, they will offer a warm and safe space to ask questions around care and support.
You can also contact Samaritans for free on 116 123.

No matter what life throws your way, there is a way of getting through – Guest blog

Recently we spoke with a wonderful lady called Charlotte, and we wanted to share with you her story. Charlotte was bereaved by suicide in 2010, and has shared her journey in this heartbreaking and beautifully written blog filled with hope.

My Mum took her own life in December 2010. My brother found her. It was devastating. I have only recently felt strong enough to connect with others about my process of grief and I’m just hoping it helps with anyone else with finding the strength to overcome grief by suicide.

Every so often a human decides they are not strong enough for their life anymore. They ‘check out’ so to speak. At that point … there is only despair. No hope. They might have the number for the crisis team and have good family support. They might even have ‘got through this before’ .
They break into pieces so small that they feel they can’t put themselves back together and leaving seems their only option, a release even.

This is my mum. She fought her demons for many years behind a very very beautiful smile. A perfect veil for her pain.

My message through this experience of grief … is this … you must practice gratitude every waking moment. Cherish your loved ones. Tell them you love them as often as you can. Appreciate we are all so different, we cope differently and we act differently. Acceptance is everything, I have learnt to let go lightly and to cry whenever I need to and reach out for support when needed.

Have the courage to change your life if there are things that need changing. Life is far too short and fleeting to procrastinate. A friend of my Mums said to me at the funeral.. ‘you may not see it now but change brings about change’. She was right. I completed a four year degree after my Mum died, I went back to Uni aged thirty two and studied Occupational Therapy, after the four year part time course, I was awarded a First Class Degree and I won a research award for my final piece of research that focused on the recovery model within mental health.

I now work within children and young peoples services as a therapist at a mental health drop in. We hope that giving young people someone to talk to at the time of need may well prevent long term mental illness. It is my way of being part of something that aims to prevent crisis situations in the future and offer people the tools to cope with pain and suffering.

My Son was only fourteen months when my Mum died. He will never hear her infectious laughter, or see her dance to soul music. He will not know how much of a great cook she was or how beautifully she made everything look including herself. What he will know however, is that no matter what life throws your way, there is a way of getting through and he will know that if you have true faith in your heart, life can and always will be a celebration every day.

I’ve had to learn how to accept my mum’s choice. I now dance with her , sing with her and laugh with her. She is in my DNA … I allow our DNA to sparkle rather than fade.

Without her I would not be me. I’m grateful for her strength to hang on and I’m grateful for her effervescence. Eternally.


On behalf of Harmless and The Tomorrow Project, thank you for sharing with us your story Charlotte. We are all truly touched by your strength and hope others can take comfort in knowing that ‘no matter what life throws your way, there is a way of getting through’.


All pupils will be taught about mental and physical wellbeing

Three new subjects will be universal from 2020 to ensure school prepares pupils for the modern world – health education, relationships education and RSE.
All children in England will be taught how to look after their mental wellbeing and recognise when classmates may be struggling, as the Government unveils new guidance for the introduction of compulsory health education.
Bold new plans set out today (Monday 25 February) by the Education Secretary Damian Hinds confirm that, from September 2020, pupils of all ages will be taught the new subject – with a focus on promoting the positive link between physical and mental health.
This comes alongside the introduction of compulsory relationships education for primary-age pupils and relationships and sex education (RSE) for secondary-age pupils, to ensure children have all the knowledge they need to grow up healthy, happy and safe.
It follows an extensive call for evidence and three-month consultation on the draft regulations and guidance. This received more than 11,000 responses including from leading charities, teaching unions and subject associations – many of whom have welcomed today’s proposals.
Making health education universal – and updating sex education guidance for the first time since 2000 – will ensure pupils are prepared for the opportunities and challenges of an “ever more complex” world, both on- and offline.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
Growing up and adolescence are hard enough, but the internet and social media add new pressures that just weren’t there even one generation ago. So many things about the way people interact have changed, and this new world, seamless between online and offline, can be difficult to navigate. Almost twenty years on from the last time guidance on sex education was updated, there is a lot to catch up on.
Although sex education is only mandatory to teach at secondary, it must be grounded in a firm understanding and valuing of positive relationships, and respect for others, from primary age. In turn positive relationships are connected with good mental health, which itself is linked with physical wellbeing. So it is appropriate to make health education universal alongside relationships and sex education.
I’m very grateful to the many people who have fed into developing these new programmes, to equip youngsters better to deal with the world of today. It starts as it always did with the importance of friendship, kindness, taking turns; as well as learning about the pitfalls and dangers, including on the internet. It will help children learn how to look after themselves, physically and mentally, and the importance of getting away from the screen and the headphones. And it can help young people be resilient as they chart a course through an ever more complex world.
At primary school, pupils will learn that mental wellbeing is a normal part of daily life and why simple self-care – like getting enough sleep and spending time outdoors and with friends – is important.
This will go hand-in-hand with content on nutrition, the importance of staying active, and recognising the early signs of physical illness – ensuring pupils understand how mental and physical health are linked.
Primary school children will also be taught age-appropriate online safety – including what to do if they come across things they are uncomfortable with, the importance of respect for others even when posting anonymously, and the risks of talking to people on the internet that they don’t know in real life.
In addition, they will learn how important it is that spending time online doesn’t get in the way of exercising, getting enough sleep, or being an active part of their community.
Today’s announcement will follow the mental health support being made available by the NHS to a population of more than 470,000 children and young people across England in schools and colleges from September 2019.
The Department for Education is also funding training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges to ensure a ‘whole school’ approach to mental health and wellbeing.
The new secondary content will build on everything learned at primary school, ensuring pupils can spot the signs of common mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression in themselves or others. Young people will learn how to discuss their emotions accurately and sensitively, about the impact of alcohol and drugs on physical and mental health, and how to access professional help.
Secondary pupils will also be taught online safety topics, including the serious risks of sharing private photos, the impact of viewing explicit or harmful content – including how to report it and get support – as well as how the internet can sometimes promote an unhealthy view of sex and relationships.
In addition, schools will be able to access supporting information on how to teach about all aspects of internet safety – not just those relating to relationships, sex and health – to help teachers deliver this in a co-ordinated and coherent way. The new content will complement the existing computing curriculum, which gives pupils a grounding in how to use technology safely, responsibly, respectfully and securely.
It will be left up to schools to decide exactly how they teach the new content, giving them the flexibility to promote health, wellbeing and respectful relationships – as many already do through PSHE – both across the curriculum and outside formal lessons.
To ensure teachers are well-prepared ahead of the subjects becoming mandatory in 2020, there will be a £6m budget in 2019/20 for a school support package to cover training and resources. The Department for Education will also provide support to early-adopter schools who will start teaching the new content from September 2019.
The lessons learned from early-adopters will be shared with other schools, to enable them to design high-quality programmes of study and prepare their teachers. The department will also offer training – either online or face-to-face – for teachers who might need it.
Government support will build on a range of free resources from charities and other organisations that are already available for schools to use.
Jonathan Baggaley, chief executive of the PHSE Association, said:
We strongly welcome this government commitment to compulsory education on health, RSE and relationships. Parents, teachers and young people have been crying out for more focus on PSHE education, so will be delighted that this core content will be guaranteed on the school curriculum. The PSHE Association looks forward to supporting all schools to make the most of this huge opportunity.
Anna Feuchtwang, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said:
The guidance published today is a welcome step forward in preparing children for adulthood, improving their wellbeing and keeping them safe and healthy. By providing compulsory health education with a strong focus on mental wellbeing, and guaranteeing relationships education in primary schools and relationships and sex education in secondary schools, the Government has responded to the needs and concerns of children, young people and parents.
This is an important milestone but there is further work ahead to ensure the new requirements fulfil their potential for helping children grow up healthier and happier.

Wellbeing should be timetabled alongside English and maths, study suggests

Wellbeing should be timetabled alongside English and maths, a study by Nuffield Health suggests.
It comes following a two-year pilot scheme in which a dedicated member of staff was assigned to teach children about mental health and wellbeing at an Oxfordshire secondary school.
The results suggested the role traditionally fulfilled by the matron in British schools could soon be filled by “Heads of Wellness”.
And Robert Shadbolt, headteacher at the guinea pig Wood Green Secondary School, said the programme had been such a success that wellbeing would now be timetabled and added into its curriculum.
The study found that 11 year-groups reported an improvement in energy levels, in feeling relaxed and in their ability to deal with problems.
It also saw a 48 percent rise in average fruit consumption and a 59 percent rise in the average vegetable consumption.
Among staff, teachers showed “a significant increase” on a scale used to measure wellbeing as well as a rise in average fruit and veg consumption – up seven percent and 13 percent respectively.
The health provider is now offering a free-of-charge six-week programme to be used in schools across the country, which includes guidance for children on what they should eat, how often they should exercise and how much ‘screen time’ they should have.
The scheme saw a Head of Wellbeing installed at Wood Green School in Witney, Oxfordshire.
Davina Deniszczyc, Nuffield Health Medical Director said: “There is a gap in the provision of wellbeing support in schools that urgently needs addressing.”
Link to original blog:

How museums are helping people explore their mental health

The idea of receiving psychotherapy in a museum might seem unusual. However, art psychotherapists are increasingly looking towards the rich resources of museums and galleries to aid them in their clinical work.
Art therapy, or art psychotherapy, sees people expressing their feelings and experiences through art, as well as (or instead of) through words. It can be used to help people of all ages, living with a wide range of emotional or physical conditions.
NHS art psychotherapists usually work in designated therapy rooms in hospitals or outpatient centres, but for our recent study we wanted to explore how conducting art psychotherapy in a museum could be beneficial to a group with complex mental health difficulties.
Research has found that people “see themselves” in museum objects, and that reflecting on our responses to objects can tell us something about ourselves. For example, an object can evoke powerful emotions, or symbolise an aspect of our current or past experiences. So we wanted to tap into museum objects to help our participants develop greater self-understanding. To our knowledge, this was the first time that museum objects would be used for this kind of art psychotherapy for adults accessing NHS mental health services.
We predicted, based on findings from arts in health and art therapy case studies, that a museum setting could help inspire creativity among group members. There is also evidence that a non-clinical space could help people to feel more connected to each other and their local community, and less “set apart” by their mental health difficulties.
Working for ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, we delivered a programme for seven adults aged 18-25 at two museums in Gloucester over 18 weeks. Each session lasted for 90 minutes and started and finished in a private education room at the museums.
The group members explored the museum exhibitions and then made some art using a variety of different materials.
At the beginning, we suggested some tasks (such as finding three objects to represent their past, present and future), but as the weeks went on they increasingly found objects they connected with. At the end of each session there was time for verbal reflections, as a group.
Speaking to the group members after the final session, and having observed the sessions as they went along, we discovered just how effective the use of museum objects can be, particularly for self-exploration. Susie (all names have been changed to protect identities) saw her desire to “wipe away the past and start again” reflected in a Victorian writing slate, and drew a modern-day device for making images and then erasing them. She also took inspiration from a model of a cross-section through the earth, drawing herself as a person with three layers and labelling it “what I show to others”, “what those close to me get to see”, and “what I feel about myself that hardly anyone knows”.
Another person who attended the sessions, Ellie, was inspired by a repaired Roman pot. She made a collage that expressed her sense that she was “piecing together bits in my life”. Caroline, meanwhile, made a timeline of her life (including some very traumatic experiences), saying that “I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t seen the timeline in the exhibition, but it felt very significant to do it – like putting things in place before moving on”.
Although not all the group members made artworks during the sessions, they still found therapeutic value in their encounters with the objects in the museum. Tasha, for example, was not always able to create art in the group but still reported that “using objects for self-reflection was useful”.
Several of the group members said that the exhibitions encouraged playfulness, as well as inspiring their creative work, and that this “meant that the group loosened up”. Some said that they felt less defined by their mental health difficulties because the sessions were not held on NHS premises. Our museum sessions also encouraged independence and helped participants to feel valued and connected to the world outside mental health services.
As one participant put it: “You feel like you are a real person working on your own personal goals rather than just a patient going through treatment… You wouldn’t necessarily have thought that pulling objects out of museum boxes and wandering around looking at artefacts would help you feel better or make progress in recovery, but you would be surprised.”

Supporting children with safe media coverage

When disasters or traumatic events occur they’re often given constant media coverage. It can seem like every time you turn on the TV, radio or go online there is more news about the event, who has been hurt and what is happening in the immediate aftermath.
Media coverage during times of disaster or traumatic events is important: it can provide those who are affected with news and information about where to go, how to get help and when it’s safe to return to their homes. However, many people, including children and families, can become absorbed by the constant news stream about the event and sometimes they can watch or listen for hours.
Impact of too much media exposure Adults need to be mindful of how much exposure their children have to coverage of disasters or traumatic events on TV, radio or the internet. The media often focus on the most frightening aspects of an event and this coverage can contain graphic, scary and disturbing images. Seeing this type of media coverage can cause distress or worry for children.
Children will also often discuss what they have seen in the media with each other. As a result, even though your children may not watch coverage constantly at home, they are still exposed to it through their friends and chatter on social media.
Media coverage can have an impact on children in the following ways:
• they can feel that they are unsafe and that something bad may happen to them or their family
• they can be led to think this event is happening constantly, rather than one event being replayed
• they can spend a great deal of time thinking about the event, which can affect their sleep and time at school
• they may be anxious that the same sort of event may happen to them or their family.
The more media coverage children see, the more likely they are to become afraid or upset.
How to help your child
It’s important that parents, carers and other family members help children to cope with the media coverage that they may see of a disaster or traumatic event. Some recommended ways to manage this include:
• try to be there with your children when they are watching coverage of the event. This way you can talk to them about their fears and answer any questions they may have
• speak to children about the event in language they will understand, and set limits on the amount of time that they are able to watch TV or internet coverage of the event
• explain to your children why you are doing this, that you don’t want them to worry unnecessarily, and that adults are managing things
• provide alternative activities for your children to take them away from the media coverage, such as watching a different TV show or playing a game
• give your children information to help them to understand what’s happened, why it’s happened, how likely this is to happen to you and your family
• remind your children that while what’s happening in the traumatic event is upsetting, there are also lots of good things happening in the world, though these don’t always receive the same level of attention
• reassure your children that they’re safe and that you’re there to answer their questions
• provide support and comfort to them if they’re upset or feeling unsafe.
Talking to your children and continuing to follow the normal routines and rhythms of your daily life are important ways to help them feel safe and secure. Keep in mind that if your children begin to show signs of excessive worry or distress at the media coverage they have seen, you may need to speak to your GP or another health professional.
This incredibly helpful and useful resource was written by Professor Beverley Raphael and Amanda Harris, with updates in June 2018 by Nicola Palfrey. Downloadable leaflet containing all information can be found here:

In the News: Scottish mental health legislation to be reviewed

Mental health care in Scotland is currently underpinned by laws which date back to 2003, and MSPs have faced calls for an update.
The government said a special review group would examine the latest developments in care and treatment. The “ambitious” move was welcomed by the Mental Welfare Commission and opposition parties at Holyrood.
It follows on from work already under way to review incapacity law and practice and a review of learning disability and autism.
The chairperson of the review group is to be announced in due course, while the study itself is expected to take roughly a year.
The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 was designed to strengthen the rights and protections of people with mental illnesses, learning disabilities and personality disorders, placing duties on local councils to provide care and support services for them.
A petition had been lodged at Holyrood urging ministers to “conduct a wide review” of legislation, in light of developments both in care and treatment and international human rights law.
Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey told MSPs that “the time is right” to review the law, to make sure that rules “fully reflect our ambitions and the needs of those our laws are intended to support”.
She said: “The Scottish government is absolutely committed to bringing change to people’s lives and ensuring that mental health is given parity with physical health.
“As part of the review we want to gather views from as wide a range of people as possible and I am determined to ensure that the views of service users, those with lived experience and those that care for them are front and centre so they can help shape the future direction of our legislation.”
Opposition parties welcomed Ms Haughey’s Holyrood statement, saying the 2003 Act had been “groundbreaking” at the time but was now in need of an update.
Colin McKay, chief executive of the Mental Welfare Commission, said the group would support the “ambitious project” in any way it could.
He said: “Working together with professionals and with people with lived experience, Scotland has the opportunity to create new legislation that can bring real improvement to the care and treatment of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
Link to original blog:

Why teacher mental health matters and how to improve it

Research has revealed that over a third of education professionals are expected to leave their job by 2020, highlighting the importance of teacher mental health and the need to address this crisis

According to a recent study, more than half of Britain’s teachers have a diagnosed mental health problem, with 76% of education professionals experiencing behavioural, psychological or physical symptoms due to their work in the last year.

Teacher mental health issues are important because they not only have a detrimental influence on teachers themselves but also directly affect classroom outcomes. One study into this showed that 77% of teachers felt poor mental health was having a damaging effect on pupil mental health, and 85% said that it adversely affected the quality of lesson planning.

In order to tackle the crisis head-on, school leaders need to build open and supportive wellbeing cultures. With a recent study showing that almost one-third of UK employees claim that they do not feel comfortable talking to their manager about mental health problems for fear of being judged, this is clearly a pressing issue. By adopting ‘open-door’ policies, and encouraging staff to share their issues, school leaders can ensure that problems can be appropriately addressed. A mentoring or buddy system could also be implemented– with this being especially useful for new members of staff, a high-risk group for mental health problems. Others initiative such as wellbeing surveys, training staff as mental health first aiders, and a provision of personal mental health guidance during teacher training are also all ways to achieve this.


Offering extra training and development to staff is often recommended as a method to boost retention, with studies showing higher levels of effective training have been proven to reduce the desire to move schools. One paper indicated that improving professional development by just one standard deviation shows a 63% reduction in the chance that a teacher will move to another school. With the evidence showing that training and development opportunities make teachers more likely to stay at a school, therefore suggesting that they feel content and settled, school leaders should actively encourage staff to regularly participate in CPD.


Workload is the most cited cause of mental health problems and the main reason for teachers leaving. Therefore, schools that offer arrangements such as job-sharing will find it far easier to retain staff and alleviate some of the problems around this. While the DfE has been working to develop strategies to help schools manage workload, there are still some methods leaders can implement right now. For instance, setting limits on after-school meetings and ensuring that only relevant staff are present, making sure employees take break and lunch times, and not setting expectations for immediate email responses, or even restricting the hours when emails can be sent, will all go some way towards helping.

Mindfulness and CBT

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, is a therapy that teaches individuals to observe the way their behaviour and thoughts affect their mood, and then build new patterns to avoid letting these thoughts have negative effects. Second, only to medication, CBT has been identified as an extremely effective treatment for mental health problems, especially anxiety and depression. Exercises such as meditation are also proven to improve mental health. By training people to bring more awareness to thoughts and feelings, they can be better managed and not become overwhelming.

One study found that mindfulness techniques significantly reduced the stress of participants when practised over three months. Another study revealed that meditation can reduce brain tissue associated with anxiety and worrying. By offering these options, along with other activities such as yoga, and physical exercise classes’, schools would be able to provide easy to implement, powerful methods of improving mental health.

Small things can make a change

There are many different approaches that school leaders can take in order to alleviate the mental health crisis, and there really is no ‘Holy Grail.’ People will all react differently to certain methods, making the best approach to build open and supportive cultures which allow help to start with the individual and work out what suits them best. However, this does not mean that schools shouldn’t try as many things as possible, and there are certain methods which are both very beneficial for mental health, and easy to put into action. By making small positive adjustments, over the long term, meaningful change can occur for teachers, students, and school leaders.

Original link: