Happy growing

It has now become widely accepted, through research and many people’s own lived experience, that gardening and being outdoors are hugely beneficial for our mental wellbeing. Gardening is recognised as having healing properties, in that it can help restore us to a sense of wholeness and offer connection to the cycle of life. This is certainly something that I have experienced throughout my own life.

Living with depression and anxiety since my teens, I felt alienated from nature and consumed by my own worries and fears about life. It was only after I left home that my relationship with gardening began to blossom, when I first started growing vegetables whilst living as a student in a shared house with a very small garden. It was with great pride that I sowed my first tomato seeds and nurtured them on my windowsill until they were mature enough to be planted outside. This process saw me connecting with nature and myself in a way that I never had before and brought about a shift in the way I viewed life. Seeing those little seedlings appear was like watching magic happen before my eyes, and with them, a sense of accomplishment and confidence in my own abilities also began to grow. My seedlings continued to develop into sturdy plants in the grow bags that became their new home and within a couple of months I was rewarded for my efforts with my first delicious home-grown tomatoes!

Many years later, after starting a family, it was with great excitement that I introduced my children to the world of gardening and they delighted in growing their own little plants. Cress seeds were particularly fun to try first, as they could be sprinkled on the earth to form letters as they grew. Potatoes and carrots were always a big hit, because harvesting them was like digging for treasure, with instant rewards being unearthed by little hands. Peas were also popular because they tasted so fresh when eaten straight from their pods. And we found that there is no supermarket competition for freshly picked corn on the cob, which was particularly sweet when cooked straight after harvesting.

In time I took on an allotment, where we grew more and bigger crops. And not only was it a productive place for growing fruit and vegetables, it became my sanctuary, a safe place I could escape to when life got too busy and chaotic. I often took with me a book to read, or wrote in my journal as I sat under the apple tree on my plot, feeling a sense of renewed peace as my batteries were recharged by nature. But as my life has continued to grow busier I have had less time to spend on there and it was with some sadness that after fifteen happy years I recently gave up my plot.

All is not lost though, and here’s another great thing about nature – it is all around us and we don’t need to travel far to feel its benefit. I am fortunate to have a back garden at home and this is where I am now turning my attention again. But even without a garden you can still experience the joy of gardening, growing flowers and vegetables in pots that can fit on small balconies and windowsills. Or you can enjoy one of the larger community gardens that have sprung up and been cultivated in many of our towns and cities.

Happy growing!

Sonia

Introducing Sonia, our new therapist

Hello, my name is Sonia and I have been a therapist with Harmless for three months now, working with men and women of all ages affected by self harm and suicide. It’s taken me a while to get this post written as it’s the first blog I’ve actually ever done!

I was really pleased when I was offered this position and excited to get to know more about Harmless and the work that they do. I have been amazed by the organisation so far and how many different services are offered to people in real need of support during some of the most difficult times in their lives.

I come to Harmless from a background of working as a counsellor in third-sector voluntary organisations, for example, in a Leicester-based women’s counselling service working closely with domestic abuse and sexual violence. I am also a trained peer support worker and in this role have greatly valued opportunities to share my lived experience with those I have supported.

I feel my own personal values of hope and recovery, plus my person-centred approach to therapy, are well aligned with those of Harmless as a user led organisation – empathy and compassion are held especially close throughout the services that Harmless offers. I am also passionate about campaigning for and developing compassionate mental health services and look forward to engaging more in this process as a member of the Harmless team.

I’ve also been impressed by the training team (Let’s Talk Training) after attending three of their courses: Mental Health First Aid, ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and Working with Self-Harm. These courses have proved invaluable to me already, both on a personal and professional level. It is great to see how the training Harmless delivers feeds directly back into the work that we do, by helping to fund therapeutic and practical support free at the point of access.

I feel part of a great team, who are really committed to the work that they do, and have felt very much welcomed as one of Harmless’ newer members.

From Harm to Hope

We are pleased to announce that Harmless’ third national self harm conference will be held on Thursday 1st March 2018, Self Harm Awareness Day. This year’s theme is ‘self harm: suicide prevention starts here’.

JOIN US

Self harm conference

£150 per delegate place

or

2 places for £200

Themes for the day

– Driving change

– Collaborative partnership

– Service user representation

– Effective practice

– Overcoming stigma & discrimination

 

Speakers Include:

Professor Louis Appleby

Sarah Kessling (Harmless)

Claire Dixon (Harmless)

Mental Health Today

Pam Burrows

Naomi Watkins & Alex Parkin

Marie Armstrong

Sarah Fairbank

Gloucestershire Public Health

COME ONE, COME ALL

Click HERE for tickets

From Harm to Hope: Introducing the Speakers

Naomi Watkins

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One of the UK’s leading Domestic Abuse consultants, as featured by BBC and commissioned by Lincolnshire County Council, Bristol City Council and University of Lincoln.

Naomi has worked in the field of Emotional Wellbeing, Healthy Relationships and Domestic Abuse for 10 years. She is a CAADA trained IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor) working with high risk cases, at risk of homicide. She has chaired MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences) and worked closely with the CPS (Crown Prosecution Services). She has been trained in Emotional Wellbeing by the NSPCC and ChildLine and worked with them for 8 years.

She has worked with young people from the ages of 0-25years and adults in varying capacities. She has been a nursery worker, deputy manager in a nursery, project worker, support worker, housing officer, drug and alcohol worker, counsellor, domestic abuse worker, ChildLine counsellor and supervisor. She has strong expertise in working with young people and adults, she has had specialist training in Emotional Wellbeing and Healthy Relationships from the NSPCC.

She is a qualified counsellor and has worked with those affected by domestic abuse, low emotional wellbeing, stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, low self-esteem and confidence.

Having delivered various training to volunteers, staff members, professionals, children and young people, she has become a highly experienced trainer. She has written workshops for all levels and delivered to small and large groups alike.

BOOK NOW

From Harm to Hope Conference

We are pleased to announce that Harmless’ third national self harm conference will be held on Thursday 1st March 2018, Self Harm Awareness Day. This year’s theme is ‘self harm: suicide prevention starts here’.

As in previous years, the conference will be shaped around the following five strategic areas:

Collaborative partnership
Service user representation
Effective practice
Driving change
Overcoming stigma and discrimination

Our conference gathers together leading academics and experts in the fields of self harm and suicide.

Self harm and suicide prevention starts here

The theme of our 3rd annual conference is self harm and suicide prevention starts here.

Thursday 1st March 2018.

Harmless recognises that self harm and suicide effects 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.

£150 per delegate place*

or

2 delegate places for £200*

 

Click HERE for more info and to book tickets.

Form Harm to Hope: Introducing the Speakers

Alex Parkin

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Alex has 4 years’ experience working previously in nurseries and schools within Lincoln, having developed a passion for working with children with Special Educational Needs, Alex knew this is where she wanted to work. Alex has worked in children’s and adult’s residential settings for two years, providing daily support to them in a home from home setting.

Alex recently returned to education and completed her BSc Hons Degree in Health and Social care at Lincoln University, during her time at Lincoln University Alex started volunteering for local organisations within the care sector. Where she met Naomi Watkins, Alex worked alongside Naomi for over a year teaching Domestic Abuse workshops to young people and teachers. As well as providing nurture groups for young children within schools.

Alex found her passion working with children and young people, whilst supporting them with various topics. Alex began by providing one to one support work with young people, since then Alex has developed a passion to run support groups for young people in Domestic Abuse relationships and for Young Parents.

Since graduating in May 2017, Alex became the Co-founder of NWCH CIC alongside Naomi, a new and unique counselling hub in Lincoln, set up to support and help people within the local community following Alex’s passion.

Alex is also a mum to young children and loves spending time with them visiting new places. Alex can be found reading books and taking long mindful walks with her dog in the local park.

BOOK NOW

Why not come along to our self harm conference?

From Harm to Hope
01/03/18

Nottingham Conference Centre

 

Do you have an interest in learning more about self harm?

Do you want to opportunities to connect with lead academics and professionals?

Do you want to raise awareness and reduce stigma around self harm?

If you answered yes to any of those questions then I believe our National Self harm Conference just might be for you.

1st March is Self harm Awareness day and in line with this we run a National conference, which gathers lead academics from all over the country to come speak. 

This year we are privileged to hear from:

Professor Louis Appleby, who leads the National Suicide Prevention Strategy for England.

Sarah Kessling (Harmless) – Effective risk assessment and safety planning.

Claire Dixon (Harmless) – Self harm and suicide: The missing link.

Mental Health Today – Supporting people living with suicidal thoughts.

Pam Burrows – Does your organisation have a C.A.R.E. culture or a SCARE culture? An introduction to the C.A.R.E. model for a developing a sustainable wellbeing culture in your organisation.

Naomi Watkins & Alex Parkin – Domestic abuse, self-harm & suicide – what is the correlation, how can we help?

Marie Armstrong – The social context of young people and self harm.

Sarah Fairbank – Working with complex trauma, self harm and suicide.

Gloucestershire Public Health – Developing a comprehensive all age pathway for people who self harm in Gloucestershire.

Where can I find more information?

If you would like more information about the forthcoming conference, then please email admin@harmless.org.uk

Or speak directly to a member of our team on: 0115 880 0280

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR PLACES

 

From Harm to Hope: Introducing the Speakers

Pam Burrows

BOOK NOW

Pam Burrows has been speaking professionally for over 25 years in the public sector, third sector and in the commercial world. Previously delivering business skills workshops globally to blue chip companies, for the last 17 years she has focused closer to home on the value of boosting the confidence, energy and positivity of people.

In 2015 Pam won a European OSHA award with Nottingham City Homes for reducing stress in the workplace and also became a Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association.

Pam is a qualified Nursery Nurse, Social Worker and Master Practitioner in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). She appears regularly on TV and BBC Radio and has produced 2 short films on social issues.

She is taking far too long to write a book and to fill the gap has recently produced an Android and iOS app with free confidence boosting resources. Pam wears a tutu when the mood takes her, gives up sugar and takes it up again on a regular basis and quite likes hugging trees when no-one’s looking.

From Harm to Hope Conference

We are pleased to announce that Harmless’ third national self harm conference will be held on Thursday 1st March 2018, Self Harm Awareness Day. This year’s theme is ‘self harm: suicide prevention starts here’.

As in previous years, the conference will be shaped around the following five strategic areas:

Collaborative partnership
Service user representation
Effective practice
Driving change
Overcoming stigma and discrimination

Our conference gathers together leading academics and experts in the fields of self harm and suicide.

BOOK NOW

From Harm to Hope: Introducing the speakers

Marie Armstrong

Marie Armstrong is a Nurse Consultant leading the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Self-harm Service in Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust. She has over 29 years’ experience working across the four tiers of CAMHS and in 2000 was appointed as the first CAMHS Nurse Consultant in the UK. Her current role includes 50% direct clinical practice as well as research, teaching, professional leadership, consultation and service development. She has developed and implemented good practice guidelines for the management of young people who self-harm, contributed to the NICE guidelines on self-harm and speaks at conferences. As well as being qualified in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Nursing Marie is also a UKCP registered Systemic Family/Psychotherapist.   

BOOK NOW

 BOOK NOW

From Harm to Hope: Introducing the Speakers

Professor Louis Appleby

Louis Appleby graduated in medicine in Edinburgh and subsequently trained in hospital medicine and psychiatry, the latter at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. He has an MD from Edinburgh and is a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of both Physicians and Psychiatrists. He has held research grants totalling £15.5m from the Wellcome Trust, MRC, Department of Health and other NHS sources.

Louis leads the Centre for Mental Health and Safety, investigating suicide and self-harm, violence and forensic services, the largest research unit in this field internationally.  Its findings have been the basis of Government policy on suicide prevention and are widely quoted by governments, professionals and charities.  From 2000-2010 Louis was seconded (part-time) as the Government’s National Director for Mental Health to lead a national programme of reform in mental health care in England and from 2010-2014 he was National Clinical Director for Health and Criminal Justice. 

BOOK NOW

From Harm to Hope Conference

We are pleased to announce that Harmless’ third national self harm conference will be held on Thursday 1st March 2018, Self Harm Awareness Day. This year’s theme is ‘self harm: suicide prevention starts here’.
As in previous years, the conference will be shaped around the following five strategic areas:

Collaborative partnership
Service user representation
Effective practice
Driving change
Overcoming stigma and discrimination

Our conference gathers together leading academics and experts in the fields of self harm and suicide