Introducing Amelia, the newest member of our suicide crisis team

Hello,

I’m Amelia and I have joined the Harmless team as a Clinical Support Officer for the Tomorrow Project.

Outside of the Tomorrow Project, I am very sporty, and I love being outdoors. In the past few years, I have been fundraising and raising awareness for Mental health through Ice Hockey.

I have previously worked with and been on the same cheerleading team as Katie, the Service manager in the Crisis team. When Katie first joined the Harmless team, is when I first learnt about the organisation.

I am looking forward to settling into my role and I am sure you will see more of me in the future on the blog and on our social media.

Amelia

Harmless Lockdown creations

During the lockdown, many of us turned to baking banana bread and zoom quizzes. Here at Harmless and The Tomorrow Project, our CEO, Caroline turned to something a little more creative.

Caroline has been working to create a range of clothing (the softest jumpers ever!) with messages of hope on. Here are some photos of our teams showing them off!

Caroline, our CEO, showing off her creations
Katie, our crisis service manager, keeping warm in the office
Ash, our eLearning service manager, shows us that hope wins

These will be available to purchase soon so watch this space…

Suicide crisis text service open

With an estimated 1 in 20 people contemplating suicide every year, thoughts of suicide occur more often then we might like to believe. Suicide attempts are at least 40 times more common than deaths by suicide, and services are struggling to meet the need well or to be in the right place at the right time. With 1 in 6 individuals experiencing a common mental health condition in the last week, and that rising to 1 in 4 over a life time, never before has it been so critical that we respond to this need.

At the Tomorrow Project, we already provide 1-1 emotional and practical support to people who are in suicide crisis in Nottinghamshire. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen a 200% increase in referrals to our services, and we have continued to provide telephone, Zoom, and when necessary face-to-face support for people of all ages in suicide crisis.

But we know that sometimes it’s too hard to speak over the phone. This is why we have created this suicide crisis text service, so we can listen and support you when talking is too hard.

The text number is 0780 000 2606 📱

Adults can start the conversation by texting the word ‘HOPE’, and children can start the conversation by texting the word ‘LISTEN’. 

Our opening hours are:

  • Mondays 13:00-16:00
  • Wednesdays 15:00-19:00
  • Fridays 13:00-15:00

We will believe things can get better for you until you can too. Help is only a text away.

Suicide Crisis Text Service Opening Monday!

Today is World Mental Health Day, and we are so thrilled to announce today that our new suicide crisis text service is opening on Monday 12th October! 📱

With an estimated 1 in 20 people contemplating suicide every year, Harmless and the Tomorrow Project already provide local 1-1 emotional and practical support in Nottingham. Our clients have told us that it can be difficult to pick up the phone and say out loud that they need some help, so we have listened to this and have created a dedicated text service for support in-between sessions.

Over the COVID-19 pandemic, the referrals into our services have increased by 200%. The pandemic has exacerbated known risk factors of suicide, such as isolation or loss of employment, so we know that this is a critical time for suicide prevention. We have continued to support our clients throughout the pandemic, however, we have chosen to extend our services at this time in response to this increased need.

This text service is open to all of our active clients on our suicide crisis pathway. If this is you, your support officer will provide you with the phone number.

Our current opening hours will be:

  • Mondays 1pm-4pm
  • Wednesdays 3pm-7pm
  • Fridays 1pm-4pm

 If you are in suicide crisis and are in Nottingham/shire, please know that the Tomorrow Project is here for you.

You can refer yourself by leaving a message on our referral line (0115 880 0282), or sending an email to crisis@tomorrowproject.org.uk. We will get back to you within 1 working day, and are still providing support despite COVID-19.


We will believe things can get better for you, until you can too.

A reflection from Laura

On 23rd September, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) released an inquiry report investigating the support available for young people who self-harm. Many organisations contributed evidence and advocated for young people in aid of the report, including Harmless.

Many conclusions were drawn from this report, however, the main one was this: the support for young people who self-harm is not good enough.

For those who don’t know me, I’m Laura and I’m one of the clinical support officers for the Tomorrow Project crisis pathway. I started this role in March, following a short internship with Harmless a few months prior. However, I first came to Harmless in 2014 as a 16-year-old client seeking support for self-harm and suicidal ideation.

Whilst reading the APPG report, I was overwhelmed with how many young people are not receiving adequate support for their self-harm. The finding that particularly upset me, was how so many young people are turned away from support, due to their self-harm lacking severity. The report particularly discussed the word “superficial”, and explained how this word alienates young people.

The support system working in this way, gives the impression that young people’s level of distress can be measured by the severity of self-harm, but that is not the case . This sends a message to young people that only those who are severely self-harming are eligible for support, whilst those who are self-harming “superficially” do not meet the necessary requirements, no matter the extent of their emotional distress. This is such a dangerous ideology. All self-harm needs to be addressed, no matter the severity.

The danger of this ideology is reflected in the invalidation of emotional distress. When young people are turned away by support services due to “superficial” self-harm, the emotional distress that they are experiencing is invalidated. I constantly see campaigns, on social media especially, encouraging people to “reach out” and to “ask for help” if they are struggling with their mental health, but let’s imagine how it must feel for a young person to gather the courage and reach out to services for support, only to be met with invalidation and apathy. Rejected, alone, and hopeless are words that immediately come to mind. This should not be happening.

Anyone who needs mental health support should receive it when they need it. No exceptions.

I am so privileged to have accessed support from Harmless. The support that I received was never dependent on the severity of self-harm, and I never once felt as though my mental health was “not bad enough” to deserve to be listened to. I never once felt pressured to prove my distress, and was always met with compassion and validation. Reading the APPG report has made me very aware of how privileged that makes me, as so many young people are not fortunate enough to receive such support.

But this is not something that should depend on luck. Every single young person who is at risk of, has thoughts of, or engages in self-harm behaviour, should be welcomed by support​ services with reassurance, empathy, and kindness. And that is the bare minimum. We must do better.

I have now recovered from my struggles with my mental health, and I am now working for the Tomorrow Project on their suicide crisis pathway. Life has very literally turned 180 degrees for me, and I hope that this reassures anyone reading this that hope exists, and that life can get better. If you are looking for support, please know that Harmless and The Tomorrow Project are here whenever you feel ready, and you will be met by a passionate, caring, and supportive team.

You deserve to be listened to.

Laura x

Link to the full APPG report and executive summary: https://www.samaritans.org/appg/

Link to a Twitter thread from our Suicide Crisis Twitter, summarising each of the 13 recommendations outlined in the report: https://twitter.com/TP_crisis/status/1308754820887728130

Link to our mental health training Eventbrite page, in response to recommendation no. 8: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/harmless-lets-talk-training-14795237737

Here are the details for our three clinical pathways:

Harmless:
0115 880 0280
info@harmless.org.uk

Tomorrow Project – Crisis Team:
0115 880 0282 (leave a message)
crisis@tomorrowproject.org.uk

Tomorrow Project – Bereavement Team: bereavement@tomorrowproject.org.uk

services with reassurance, empathy, and kindness. And that is the bare minimum. We must do better. I have now recovered from my struggles with my mental health, and I am now working for the Tomorrow Project on their suicide crisis pathway. Life has very literally turned 180 degrees for me, and I hope that this reassures anyone reading this that hope exists, and that life can get better. If you are looking for support, please know that Harmless and The Tomorrow Project are here whenever you feel ready, and you will be met by a passionate, caring, and supportive team. You deserve to be listened to. Laura x Link to the full APPG report and executive summary: https://www.samaritans.org/appg/ Link to a Twitter thread from our Suicide Crisis Twitter, summarising each of the 13 recommendations outlined in the report: https://twitter.com/TP_crisis/status/1308754820887728130 Link to our mental health training Eventbrite page, in response to recommendation no. 8: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/harmless-lets-talk-training-14795237737 Here are the details for our three clinical pathways: Harmless: 0115 880 0280 info@harmless.org.uk Tomorrow Project – Crisis Team: 0115 880 0282 (leave a message) crisis@tomorrowproject.org.uk Tomorrow Project – Bereavement Team: bereavement@tomorrowproject.org.uk

Internship Opportunity

The Tomorrow Project are recruiting for a voluntary intern who can work with us on a short term project. 

The internship will involve creating support documents about a large variety of topics, for Harmless and its associated services. Examples of topics are housing, sexual health, bullying, drugs and alcohol, learning difficulties, and more. The support documents would contain general information about these topics,  helplines and useful websites that can be accessed nationally, and local support services in the Nottingham/shire area. 

The opportunity is well suited to a student or graduate seeking voluntary experience within a mental health service. This work can be done from home, so is accessible to everyone regardless of COVID-19. 

The project will commence in October and we look forward to receiving your application to the email address katie@tomorrowproject.org.uk. Please put ‘Internship Application’ as the email subject. 

You can express your interest in this opportunity by sending us your expression of interest, a brief summary of your experience, and what you think you could bring to this project. We look forward to meeting our successful applicant, and cannot wait to hear from you! 

Tell us about your opinions on text messaging support services!

Harmless are currently carrying out some research about what the general public expects from text messaging support services. We’ve created an online survey, and we would really appreciate it if you could fill it in! It takes no more than 10 minutes, and all answers are completely anonymous.

Here’s the link:  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TP_text_services

Your opinions are important to us, and all answers will be contributing to life-saving work. Thank you in advance if you fill it in!

Laura and Katie
The Tomorrow Project

Befriending

Nearly one third of older adults experience loneliness and/or social isolation (Berg_Weger & Morley, 2020). This figure will be exacerbated due to the COVID-19, with over-70’s self-isolating and being particularly vulnerable to the virus. Social isolation can negatively affect the elderly in numerous different ways, including elevated feelings of stress, anger sadness, depression, emptiness, worthlessness, and pessimism (Griffin, 2010). Physical health can also be affected by loneliness, such as elevated cortisol levels, weakened immune system, poorer sleep quality, and doubled risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease (Age UK, 2015).

Befriending has been shown to help loneliness in the elderly. Befriending is “an intervention that introduces the client to one or more individuals, whose main aim is to provide the client with additional social support through the development of an affirming, emotion-focused relationship over time” (Mead et al., 2010). Befriending often consists of regular visits to an older person’s house, and telephone calls by either a paid worker or volunteer. Befriending has been shown to:

  • Reduce depression, loneliness, and feelings of being a burden.
  • Improve confidence and anxiousness
  • Improvements in physical health as well as emotional health
  • Improve general well-being and quality of life

Older people who use the Age UK telephone befriending service reported that they valued the ability to talk, listen, and share information with another person who they could trust and rely on. Additionally, it’s not just the elderly who experience the benefits of befriending; volunteers for the Age UK befriending scheme showed increased self-confidence, improved interpersonal skills, and feelings of satisfaction as a result from volunteering (Age UK, 2015).

Here is a list of local and national befriending services, for you to volunteer at if you would like, or for you to suggest to any elderly friends or relatives who are experiencing loneliness.

Age UK Notts – regular companionship, listening ear, and friendship.
Website: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/notts/our-services/visiting-and-befriending/

Telephone Friendship – a national telephone friendship service run by Age UK and The Silver Line.
Website: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/befriending-services/sign-up-for-telephone-befriending/

Good Companions – reducing loneliness and isolation for older people in Clifton, Wilford, and Silverdale.
Phone: 0115 878 6182
Email: info@goodcompanions.org

East Leake Community Care Association – the Community Care Association run a Befriending Group for the elderly people of East Leake.
Website: https://east-leake.co.uk/befriending-group/

The Silver Line Helpline: 0800 4 70 80 90 (free, confidential, open 24/7, 365 days a year. Provides information, friendship, and advice to older people aged 60+).