Life Saving Christmas Raffle

HARMLESS’ CHRISTMAS RAFFLE 2019

This Christmas we are holding a special raffle to raise vital funds to keep our life saving services running.

All the money raised goes directly towards helping us provide a range of services including support, information, training and consultancy to people who self harm and/or have suicidal thoughts, their friends and families and professionals.

Every pound that is donated through the purchase of a raffle ticket will directly be used to provide life saving support.

Ticket sales will close at the end of the day on Sunday 8th December 2019 with the draw to take place on Monday 9th December 2019.  Please make sure you include a phone number and email address so that we can contact you if you win.

Each £1 raffle ticket purchased equals to one entry.

For tickets click here

Raffle prizes list will be published in the coming weeks.

We wish you the best of luck in the draw!

A huge thank you to Rubylou’s Treat Co for providing us with the most delicious table favours for our celebration event this year.
 
The favours made the event extra special and were thoroughly enjoyed by our wonderful guests!
 
Please take a moment to head across to their website and show your support: https://rubyloustreatco.co.uk/
 
We raised over £2000 for our life saving services with contributions from small local business’ like Rubylou’s Treat Co and we are so incredibly grateful ? Thank you ?

How parents’ arguments really affect their children

It is normal for parents to argue, but the way these disagreements affect children varies greatly. What can parents and carers do to limit the harm caused by their rows?

What happens at home really does affect children’s long-term mental health and development.

But it is not only the relationship between the parent and child that is important.

How parents get on with each other also plays a big role in a child’s wellbeing, with the potential to affect everything from mental health to academic success and future relationships.

But there is the chance for some good to come out of a “positive” row.

In most cases, arguments will have little or no negative effects for children.

But when parents shout and are angry with each other, when they consistently withdraw or give each other the “silent treatment”, problems can sometimes arise.

UK and international research conducted over several decades through observations in the home, long-term follow up work and experimental studies, suggests that from as young as six months, children exposed to conflict may have increased heart rates and stress hormone responses.

Infants, children and adolescents can show signs of disrupted early brain development, sleep disturbance, anxiety, depression, conduct disorder and other serious problems as a result of living with severe or chronic inter-parental conflict.

Similar effects are also seen in children who are exposed to ongoing but less intense conflict, compared with children whose parents constructively negotiate or resolve conflicts.

Nature or nurture?

The impact on children is not always as might be expected.

For example, divorce – and parents deciding to live apart – has often been seen as having a particularly damaging and lasting effect on many children.

But in some cases, it is now thought that it could be the arguments that take place between parents before, during and after a separation that do the damage, rather than the break-up itself.

Similarly, it has often been assumed that genetics play a defining role in how children respond to conflict.

And it is true that “nature” is central to a child’s mental health – playing a part in problems from anxiety, to depression and psychosis.

But the home environment and the “nurture” they receive there can also be very significant.

Increasingly, it is thought that underlying genetic risks for poor mental health can be made worse – or better – by family life.

The quality of the relationship between parents appears to be central, whether or not they are living together, or if the children are genetically related to the parents or not – for example, if they were conceived using donor eggs or sperm, or adopted.

Rows about children

What does all of this mean for parents?

First, it is important to recognise that it is perfectly normal for parents and carers to argue or disagree with each other.

However, when parents engage in conflicts with each other that are frequent, intense and not resolved, children do less well.

Even more so if the row is about children, for example where children blame themselves or feel at fault for the arguments.

These negative effects can include sleep disturbance and disrupted early brain development for infants, anxiety and conduct problems for primary school children, and depression and academic problems and other serious issues, such as self-harm, for older children and adolescents.

For decades, we have known that domestic abuse and violence can be particularly damaging for the children involved.

But parents don’t even need to display volatile or aggressive behaviour towards one another for damage to be done.

Where they become withdrawn, or express low levels of warmth for each other, children’s emotional, behavioural and social development is also put at risk.

The problems don’t end there.

Not only are children affected in their own lives, but research shows that bad relationships can pass from one generation to the next.

It is a cycle that needs to be broken if we want positive and happy lives for today’s generation of children, and the next generation of parents and families.

Arguing in ‘private’

But there are factors which can reduce the harm caused.

From the age of about two – and possibly from an even younger age – research tells us that children are astute observers of their parents’ behaviour.

They often notice arguments – even when parents think their children don’t, or believe they have protected them by arguing in “private”.

What matters is how children interpret and understand the causes and potential consequences of conflicts.

Based on their past experience, children decide whether they think conflicts are likely to escalate, potentially involve them, or could even pose a risk to family stability – a particular concern for some young children.

They may also worry about the possibility of their relationship with their parents worsening as a result.

Research suggests that boys and girls may also respond differently, with girls at greater risk of emotional problems, and boys at greater risk of behavioural problems.

Often, policies aimed at improving mental health among the young have focussed on supporting the children themselves, or in directly supporting parenting.

But it could be that supporting the relationship between parents could also make a big difference to children in the short term, as well as better equipping them to form their own healthy relationships with others in the future.

Where children have supportive relationships with relatives, siblings, other adults (eg teachers) and friends, these are important for children’s long-term healthy development. What happens at home can significantly influence these relationships, for good or ill.

It is natural for parents to feel concerned about the impact their arguments may have on their children.

But it is normal to argue or disagree sometimes, and in fact children respond well when parents explain or resolve – in an appropriate way – what an argument was about.

Indeed, where parents successfully resolve arguments, children can learn important positive lessons which can help them navigate their own emotions and relationships beyond the family circle.

Helping parents understand how their relationships affect children’s development sets the stage for healthy children today – and healthy families in the future.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-43486641?SThisFB&fbclid=IwAR3hkcNA8U5jaqI-Lv-zJvIcEEeYT40DDQ6poYUIOmOiPNTP54_d_qtxQko

MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION TO BECOME PART OF THE CURRICULUM IN 370 SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND

MINDFULNESS TO BE TAUGHT IN 370 SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND

In 370 schools across England, children will be taught how to meditate, techniques for muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises for mindfulness. The program is being conducted under a mental health study that the British government is running up until 2021.

DEALING WITH NEW AND COMPLEX EMOTIONS CAN BE MITIGATED BY MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS

When children act out by kicking and screaming, very often it is simply because they don’t understand what they are going through, and can’t find a better way to express their feelings. 

When they have a tantrum it is most likely because they are struggling to deal with new and complex emotions that they are feeling for the first time in their lives.

Schools in England are beginning to address this issue with a new approach, and that is by teaching mindfulness and meditation in the classroom to improve students’ overall mental health.

In 370 schools across England, children will be taught how to meditate, techniques for muscle relaxation and breathing exercises for mindfulness.

The secondary school students will also learn about awareness and how to increase this in their everyday lives.

This program is being conducted under a wider mental health study that the British government will be running until 2021.

Aside from the increasing number of young children that are showing signs of early onset depression and anxiety, National Health Service (NHS) reports have also indicated that 1-in-8 British children have mental disorders.

Despite these statistics, only 1 in every 5 children in the UK with mental issues are able to get access to the treatment they need.

But England isn’t the only country that has added mindfulness as a subject among schools. In 2016, a school in Baltimore decided to replace detention with an area where the children could go to practice some breathing and stretching exercises instead. 

This is a way to keep the students calmer in order to increase their focus within the classroom.

Source: https://www.brightvibes.com/1291/en/mindfulness-and-meditation-to-become-part-of-the-curriculum-in-370-schools-in-england?fbclid=IwAR18rd5lFZtR69u6TsA3A0RlEED0O4N6Nf-4LpLNHbILlIhy-7nIMMr0Qwo

Save a life with a tenner (or less… or more…!)

Every day Harmless and The Tomorrow Project work hard to save lives. We work hard to spend the money that we raise ourselves on ensuring that ‘everyone’ should have access to life saving support when they need it.

We are desperate for equipment- help us raise money for a laptop that we so desperately need in order that we don’t have to take money away from frontline crisis services.

Anything you can spare… the price of a coffee? A tenner… honestly, your money will save lives. Thankyou so much.

https://localgiving.org/fundraising/Justatenner/

Is It Time to Review Your Self Care Routine?

Most people know how important it is to practice the right self-care routine. Of course, knowing that self-care is good for you, and actually implementing it into your life are two very different things.

For most people, a self-care routine is just another chore to add to the bottom of their to-do list. However, if you take the time to look at things like “Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs,” you’ll discover that self-care is a critical part of living a healthy and satisfying life.

Though we should all try to make time to help other people in our lives, that shouldn’t mean that you constantly ignore your own needs. Without any self-care, you begin to suffer from mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that simply prevents you from making the most of your life.

So, how do you review your self-care routine, and create a schedule of support you can stick to?

Creating a Routine That You Can Commit To

For most, the challenge isn’t figuring out whether you need a self-care routine, or even determining whether yours is beginning to suffer. If you’re always exhausted, emotionally overwhelmed, and neglecting your basic needs, then you need self-care.

The trouble is, a good self-care routine takes time, commitment and effort. When you’re already struggling with a hectic schedule, it can seem like too much to even take five minutes aside to sit in silence. In fact, you may even convince yourself that those “me moments” aren’t as important as they seem.

Whether you’re just getting started with self-care, or you need help getting back into a routine you can stick to; the following tips should help.

1. Wake Up Early

If you’re not a morning person, this probably isn’t the kind of tip you were looking for. As difficult as it can be to drag yourself out of bed to the sound of a blaring alarm, the truth is that even an extra fifteen minutes added to your day can help to remove some of the chaos in your schedule. The moments you first wake up are a fantastic opportunity to set your mood for the rest of the day.

What’s more, if you get your self-care routine started first thing, you’re more likely to keep yourself in mind as you move through the rest of your schedule too. Wake up fifteen minutes ahead of schedule and do something that’s exclusively for you. That doesn’t mean getting ahead by checking your work emails. Sit down and listen to some uplifting music, relax with a little yoga, or try meditation.

2. Make a Healthy Meal Every Day

Healthy eating habits are a common component of a good self-care routine. The good news is that you don’t need to do a drastic detox or a juice cleanse to get yourself back into the right place after some time away from your self-care strategy. You don’t even need to jump into the latest diet craze, all you need to do is make sure that you’re getting the right dose of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins whenever you can.

Instead of trying to revamp your entire eating strategy, focus on making one healthy meal a day, and supplementing it with healthy decisions throughout your schedule. For instance, you might have a green salad for lunch, and a cup of freshly-ground coffee to go with it. Fresh coffee beans are actually packed full of antioxidants, and they can give you the boost you need to get through the rest of your routine with a smile.

3. Keep It Simple 

One of the biggest things stopping people from reviewing their self-care routine is the worry that they won’t be able to follow a strict schedule. You don’t need to plan every second of your day to make sure that you’re looking after yourself. Instead, you just need to start with a few simple changes. For instance, start by looking at your current list of priorities.

Most people put work and earning money at the top, then family next, then time for themselves somewhere near the bottom. Every so often, put some time in your schedule to flip your priorities around. Forget about work for fifteen minutes and do something fun that just benefits you. This is your opportunity to indulge in listening to your favorite tunes or watching a great show without any judgment. You’re not selfish; you’re looking after yourself.

4. Get Some More Sleep 

Sleep is a basic human need, but it’s also something we forget about when we’re neglecting our self-care routines. While it’s tempting to push yourself as hard as your mind and body will allow to accomplish your career or personal goals, it’s worth remembering that you’re only human. Your brain and body need time to recuperate, so make sure that you’re still finding enough time for at least seven hours of sleep each night.

Not only will a good sleep strategy help you to handle your hectic day, but it should also assist in making you a more energetic and focused person. Without exhaustion plaguing all your thoughts, you can concentrate on each challenge as it presents itself to you and avoid the risk of common mental health problems like stress, anxiety or depression.

5. Protect your Boundaries

If you’re a parent, a caregiver, or just someone with a lot of people who rely on you, then you may have forgotten what “boundaries” actually are. Your boundaries are your basic limits, and they help people around you to respect your need for self-care so that you’re more likely to stick to your routine. If you put your boundaries in place carefully, you can remind your husband, wife, children, and anyone else in your social circle that you need time for you, too.

As hard as it can be to say “no,” or ignore the people who are closest to you, it’s critical to communicate your boundaries with your words, and your actions if you want your self-care routine to be successful. Ultimately, if you let other people see that you don’t see self-care as a priority, then they won’t treat it as important either.

6. Stay Flexible 

Finally, it’s important to remember that no matter how hard you try, and how carefully you plan, sometimes your schedule can get the better of you. It will be easier to practice self-care on some days than it is on others, and that’s fine. Just because you fall off the wagon at times doesn’t mean you should give up on your strategy altogether.

Don’t be too hard on yourself and remind yourself that life can be overwhelming. Just make sure that you don’t allow yourself to constantly ignore your needs or put your self-care routine to the back of your schedule too often. Take it one step at a time, be flexible, and eventually, you’ll get to where you need to be.

https://www.thecounsellorscafe.co.uk/single-post/2018/07/06/Is-It-Time-to-Review-Your-Self-Care-Routine?utm_campaign=meetedgar&utm_medium=social&utm_source=meetedgar.com&fbclid=IwAR1CvSpfuwX7CkPrVSh7nFwE0uc-VC7o6YanPcGpm3HqRyeDOs2n8w5K5sk

Can you help our training team?

Our training team here at Harmless are in desperate need of a training laptop. Our wonderful trainers travel the country delivering a vast rage of training from mental health, to self harm to suicide intervention. The training they deliver not only equips individuals in supporting others (and saving lives!), but also funds a lot of Harmless and The Tomorrow Project services.

As our service demands increase and referrals grow we need to meet those needs internally too. Our training team has also grown but with it we now need another laptop.

Can you help us?

Many of our wonderful people who we support prefer to donate an item that will really make a difference.

If you would like to support our service please take a look at our Amazon Wish List and see a laptop we have added.

On behalf of our team: thankyou! Your support is truly appreciated. If you buy something off this list please send us an email to info@harmless.org.uk so we can personally thank you.

http://amzn.eu/geCkyta

Exploring Anger in Therapy

Managing anger is something we can all learn to do better. This article introduces the basis of a better understanding of anger through an existential lens.

There are different aspects to this that I usually want to explore with my clients – I usually begin to look at what is already there: what helps and what doesn’t?

The historical dimension

How we manage our negative feelings is usually learned. I believe that whatever is learned can be unlearned even later in life. It is never ‘too late’ to reformulate our core beliefs.

It is useful for this purpose to think about what was taught to us about anger when we were growing up.

How was anger displayed?

How did your parents managed anger?

Was anger something that was encouraged or suppressed?

After the exploration of this historical dimension, we can move to understand what we can do with anger now. 

Feelings and behaviours

The crucial point to improving the management of anger is to differentiate between our feelings and our behaviour.

The feeling is the felt sense we experience in our body. There are a lot of different variations and forms of it: we might feel frustrated, annoyed, envious, mad, irritated, jealous, resentful, upset or aggravated. All those words refer back to the same primal feeling of anger. 

The behaviour is what we do, both physically and mentally with these emotions. What we commonly associate with anger is aggressive behaviour, lashing out at people, saying things we regret, being snappy and so on.

The main approach to anger management focuses on the basic distinction between feelings and behaviour. Once the client is able to differentiate the two, the next step is to validate the feelings and challenging the behaviour. 

It is very important to understand that we cannot change what we feel. We can only change what we do in response to the feeling. For instance we can learn to think about our anger in a different way or we can learn to respond to anger in a less harmful manner. The problem with anger is never the feeling, it’s the behaviour. 

If we feel something we need to allow ourselves to feel it, but we want to change how we act in response to it – In most cases, when I work on anger management, I find that the client finds it difficult to put a reflective space between the feeling and the action.

For the purpose of self-development we want to introduce a lapse of time between when we feel the feeling and when we respond to it. We want to move away from the dynamic of feeling-reaction. We want to promote actions we have been thinking about, not simple impulse responses.

Reframing 

Very often when we are angry, we are in touch with something that is really important for us. I often ask my clients to think about anger as a passion.

If instead of using the word anger, you would use the word passion, what would you be passionate about?

This usually leads the therapy away from simple behaviour management and into a more complex and meaningful reframing of priorities and choices.

Anger is a complex and meaningful feeling we all experience at times. As much as we don’t like to be angry we all need to face it sometimes.

What matters is to create a narrative in which anger, like any other feeling can be used as information. The more we learn to listen to our feelings, the better we can manage them.

https://www.thecounsellorscafe.co.uk/single-post/2018/07/27/Anger-Management?utm_campaign=meetedgar&utm_medium=social&utm_source=meetedgar.com&fbclid=IwAR2NEfMiiWDZi6v_nZ9UzjZpwUl4DXcrzXsaFSllbFhTVL_tM-7EfR0ZnBY

World Mental Health Day: Suicide Prevention

This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is suicide prevention.

In 2018, there were 6,507 registered suicides in the UK. What’s more shocking is that this rate is significantly higher than in 2017, and is the first increase since 2013.

Three quarters of registered deaths were among men (4,903) however the most significant increase is among woman age 10-24 years. This is the highest level increase since 2012.

Since 2013 we have been seeing a gradual decline in suicides however last year that changed and we have now seen a significant increase.

The office of national statistics has stated that often suicide rates tend to fluctuate year to year; therefore it is too early to tell whether the latest increase represents a change in the recent trend.

At Harmless we feel that one death is too many and are saddened by this increase. In response to the significant increase in young female deaths our theme for 2020’s conference is: ‘Apathy: The growing need for us to listen to our ‘hysterical’ women.’

Conference details here: http://www.harmless.org.uk/store/From-Harm-to-hope-conference-2020

From Harm to Hope: Friday 28th February 2020

In honor of World Mental Health Day we are asking everyone to reach out to someone. Reach out to that friend who lives alone, the friend who just finished university and moved home, the colleague at work who seems less chatty than usual, the person you know who’s just moved house….reach out to the friend who always seems fine. We never know the power of asking someone how they are and really meaning it.

For years people have been taught that they could be psychologically health without social support, and that “unless you love yourself, no one else will love you”….however we know that is not true. You cannot love yourself unless you have been loved and are loved. The capacity for love and healing cannot be built in isolation. So never underestimate the power of reaching out to someone and experiencing genuine connection. It could save their life.

 

If your or someone you know are struggling please contact a service for support from the list below:

Samaritans offer a 24-hours a day, 7 days a week support service. Call them FREE on 116 123. You can also email jo@samaritans.org

Papyrus is a dedicated service for people up to the age of 35 who are worried about how they are feeling or anyone concerned about a young person. You can call the HOPElineUK number on 0800 068 4141, text 07786 209697 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

NHS Choices: 24-hour national helpline providing health advice and information. Call them free on 111.

C.A.L.M.: National helpline for men to talk about any troubles they are feeling. Call 0800 58 58 58.

Support After Suicide Partnership offers practical and emotional support on their website for people bereaved and affected by suicide.

The Tomorrow Project offers free therapeutic support to anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts. We also support anyone bereaved by suicide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Problem with Yelling

“The problem with verbal abuse is there is no evidence,” Marta shared. She came for help with a long-standing depression.

“What do you mean lack of evidence?” I asked her.

“When people are physically or sexually abused it’s concrete and real. But verbal abuse is amorphous. I feel like if I told someone I was verbally abused, they’d think I was just complaining about being yelled at.” Marta explained.

“It’s much more than that.” I validated.

“Much more.” She said.

“The problem is no one can see my scars.” She knew intuitively that her depression, anxiety and deep-seated insecurity were wounds that stemmed from the verbal abuse she endured.

“I wish I was beaten,” Marta shared on more than one occasion. “I’d feel more legitimate.”

Her statement was haunting and brought tears to my eyes.

Verbal abuse is so much more than getting scolded. Marta told me that there were many reasons her mother’s tirades were traumatizing:

•    The loud volume of her voice

•    The shrill tone of her voice

•    The dead look in her eyes

•    The critical, disdainful and contemptuous facial expression that made Marta feel hated.

•    The long duration—sometimes her mother yelled for hours.

•    The names and insults, you’re spoiled, disgusting, and wretched.

•    The unpredictability of that “flip of the switch” that turned her mother into someone else.

•    And, perhaps worst of all, the abandonment.

“It is not just that I felt assaulted. It’s that when I did something that flipped her switch, my mother was gone and replaced by a monster. That’s exactly what it felt like. I was totally alone.” Tears welled up in Marta’s eyes.

Being frequently yelled at changes the mind, brain and body in a multitude of ways including increasing the activity of the amygdala (the emotional brain), increasing stress hormones in the blood stream, increasing muscular tension, and more. Being frequently yelled at changes how we think and feel about our Self even after we become adults and leave home. That’s because the brain wires according to our experiences—we literally hear our parents’ voices yelling at us in our heads even when they are not there. Marta had to work hard every day to push away the onslaught coming from inside her mind.

Attachment and infant-mother research confirms what we all intuitively know: that humans do better when they feel safe and consistently loved, which means among other things, being treated with respect. What is news to many of us is that we are born with fully matured, hard-wired, core emotions like sadness, fear, and anger.

When fear, for example, is repeatedly triggered by a harsh environment, like one where there is lots of yelling, automatic physical and emotional reactions occur that cause traumatic stress to a child. The stress in their little brains and bodies increases from anything that feels attacking including loud voices, angry voices, angry eyes, dismissive gestures and more.

Children do better when they are calm. The calmer and more connected the caregiver, the calmer and more secure is their child. And the healthier it is for the child’s brain and body.

The following are some things we can remember to help young brains develop well and help our children feel safe and secure.*

  • Know that children have very real emotional needs that need proper tending. In general, the more these needs are met, the easier it will be for the child to be resilient in the face of life’s challenges.

  • Learning about core emotions will help you to help your child successfully manage emotions.

  • You can affect your child’s self-esteem by being kind, compassionate and curious about their mind and world.

  • When a break in the relationship occurs, as often happens during conflicts, try to repair the emotional connection with your child as soon as possible.

  • You can help your child feel safe and secure by allowing them to separate from you and become their own person, welcoming them back with love and connection, even when you are angry or disappointed in their behaviors. You can calmly discuss your concerns and use opportunities as teachable moments.

Yelling at children is counter to all of the above, as is hitting and crossing physical/sexual boundaries of any kind.

The last time I saw Marta, she told me she had received upsetting news over the weekend.

Marta said, “I told myself, my distress will soon pass and I’ll be ok. And, then I worked the Change Triangle. I named, validated and felt the sadness in my body as I gave myself compassion. After I spent time with my feelings, I took a walk through the park and looked at nature. I felt better.”

So proud of the way she could now self-soothe, I said, “What a wonderful mother you were to yourself.”

She smiled and said, “Yeah. It really does feel better when I don’t beat myself up.”

The mother who lived inside her mind used to condemn her with such mean and unhelpful comments as: Serves you right! Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill! or Who cares about you?

The harsh mother inside Marta had indeed mellowed.

As a parent, it is not easy to control one’s temper or realize if we’ve crossed the line into verbal abuse. There is a slippery slope between being a strict disciplinarian and what will traumatize a young brain. A little awareness goes a long way in this case. Being aware of one’s behavior, listening to our tone of voice and choice of words, and watching our body language, all help keep us in check.

Little children, who can act tough, defiant, or even indifferent to our actions, are still vulnerable to trauma. Our own childhood experiences, wonderful, horrible, and everything in between, need to be remembered and honored. And we can all strive to help our families evolve: to pay forward more of the best, gentle experiences we received as children than the painful ones.

https://www.thecounsellorscafe.co.uk/single-post/2017/11/11/The-Problem-with-Yelling?utm_campaign=meetedgar&utm_medium=social&utm_source=meetedgar.com&fbclid=IwAR00Zmy4p036Vt_uSHtdxUkGxuTSFQzsth3c_57IkW7GUrzAI8d9Wz-pdSQ