Introducing one of our Support Officers, Sarah

“Hi, I’m Sarah.

I have recently joined the team as a new Support Officer for Harmless.

I have a background as a support worker specialising in working with survivors of domestic abuse.

It’s an unusual time to start a new role but what has been clear from my first day is that keeping the service available for people in need during these unsettling times has been the priority for all staff. I’d also like to say thank you to the team as they helped me settle in and answered my many questions!

I believe that being open and talking about how you are feeling can be hugely beneficial to anyone struggling with their mental health, however I also believe we live in a society that does not make it easy for people to do so. Breaking boundaries and challenging stereotypes is a start to helping people and letting others know they are not alone.

I joined Harmless because I really admire the work they do and the beliefs of the organisation. I like the saying ‘be who you needed when you were younger’ and feel proud to work for an organisation supporting people in need and challenging the stigma around self harm and suicide.

I am looking forward to working for Harmless and offering practical and emotional support to people in need.”

Introducing one of our Therapists, Rani

“After an exciting career in the fashion industry, I began to feel unfulfilled and wanted to do something more worthwhile with my life. Going back to university to study Sociology and Healing Arts, I entered a new phase of my life supporting students in higher education in Welfare (University of Nottingham) and Specialist Mentoring roles (University of Derby) which lead me naturally into re-training as an Integrative Counsellor and Psychotherapist (BACP). My approach has a firm person-centered foundation and I apply Attachment and CBT based interventions in a creative and client directed way with a strong compassion focused emphasis. I adore what I do.

Joining the Harmless team at beginning of November, I felt almost immediately at home within an environment where the standard of care and support for the client is paramount but also where the support of colleagues and the value placed on teamwork is profound. Harmless and The Tomorrow Project are a team who are deeply committed to quality of service provision, best practice and a positive contribution to the field of self-harm support and suicide prevention nationally. I feel immensely proud to be part of the team. I also feel inspired by the courage of our clients every day.

Being the mother of two wonderful young people, I am conscious of the immense societal pressures on the individual to behave, perform and present themselves in specific ways which can be immensely damaging to self-esteem and the individual’s sense of hope for the future. It is a privilege to accompanying our clients’ in their journey towards a more hopeful future.

In order to stay positive, I practice mindfulness and do lots of running and walking in beautiful green spaces 😊”

Meet Carolyn, our Therapist Intern

I started work with Harmless in September 2019 whilst working towards a Level 4 diploma in therapeutic counselling. I was drawn to Harmless because of their passion and commitment in helping people in often the most difficult times of their lives.

During my time at Harmless I have been amazed by the bravery of the clients to tell their story and reach out for help, but equally overwhelmed by the dedication of the staff at Harmless and The Tomorrow Project.

My style is person-centred. Endeavouring to build genuine relationships by listening without judgement, showing empathy, compassion and understanding.

I come with a varied background, HR Consultancy and Youth Work including running a youth camp in South Wales for 7 years. Prior to working with Harmless I worked for small company that produces Sphagnum moss to combat climate change. I have four children (3 who are teenagers). This has given me a greater understanding of the pressure that our teenagers experience at school, exam pressures and bullying, anxiety about self-image, concerns about the future and feeling powerless to change their circumstances.  I am happy to be working with an organisation that is helping people who struggle with these issues.

Introducing Lydia, our newest team member

Hi, I’m Lydia

I’m very excited to be joining The Tomorrow Project as the new suicide crisis support officer.

I’ve got a varied background stemming from qualifying as a chef when I first left school to working with some beautiful people with learning difficulties, autism, dementia, delirium or personality disorders. I believe this has allowed me to gain a very person centred approach and has provided me with a vast knowledge of differing areas. I feel I can bring a lot of knowledge to the team and can’t wait to start making a difference.

Although it is only my second week, I have already had the pleasure of observing client sessions and seeing first hand some of the amazing work being done here at Harmless and The Tomorrow Project.

I’ve also attended my first conference, From Harm to Hope, which Harmless hosted last Friday with the focus on female suicide. I got to meet a variety of incredible individuals and learn about the work they are doing to better the world. One of my favourite workshops of the day was by Lisa Carter on perinatal mental health, this sparked a keen interest in the area for me.

I feel honoured to be part of such an amazing team and I am so excited to progress with them.

 

Introducing one of our new Therapists – Justina

Hi everyone!

My name is Justina and I joined Harmless team in October 2019 as a full-time therapist. I work in a Person-Centred way to provide psychotherapy to clients who are affected by self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

I thought I knew about the service before I joined Harmless, but it was just a tip of the iceberg. Although Harmless have limited resources, I have first-hand witnessed how our staff go far and beyond to support a wide range of clients. Providing therapy and project work for people who self-harm is just a small part of our job. I feel privileged to be a part of the small Harmless team and also belong to a much bigger team of suicide prevention officers, suicide bereavement support workers, mental health trainers, researchers, fundraisers, admins, and managers.

I particularly value the fact that Harmless is a user-led organisation that also provides bespoke training. This way, our clients are not only listened to and heard in therapy sessions, but they are also approached in person-centred way on a wider, organisational level. This is why I also believe in practice that is informed by research, and vice versa – practice that informs science by generating data from genuine lived experiences of our clients.

Here at Harmless, I am looking forward to supporting clients in therapy sessions and hoping to improve their experiences within the organisation by engaging in research, getting to know and cooperating with other services available in the area, collaborating with local and national organisations to drive change in the mental health sector.

I have learned a lot in just a few months of being here, and I am eagerly waiting to expand and deepen my knowledge much more in my future with Harmless!

Justina

Meet Helen, our new Suicide Bereavement Support Officer

Hello,

My name is Helen, I have recently joined the great team at Harmless as a suicide bereavement support officer for the Tomorrow Project. I am currently training to be a counsellor and I hope this will help me in my supporting role. Most of my previous experience has been people facing and connecting with people is something that I find is rich and rewarding. My background is varied from sales to health and fitness, so well-being is something that is of particular interest to me. This experience has given me an understanding of the importance of self- care, both physical and mental.

I am looking forward to supporting people through the tomorrow project.

Meet Rachel, our new Suicide Bereavement Support Officer

Hi. I’m Rachel and have recently joined the Tomorrow Project team as a Suicide Bereavement Support Officer. My role will be to work with clients bereaved by suicide in Leicestershire, offering practical and emotional support. The heart of our service is the ethos that with the right support and help life can get better. I expect the role to be challenging at times, emotive but rewarding.

Prior to joining the Tomorrow Project I worked in bereavement support with a national charity and also as a volunteer counsellor with a Leicester cancer charity. I have also just completed my counselling training with a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling.

I see the Tomorrow Project as offering a vital support service for those bereaved by suicide who historically across Leicestershire may have had to wait for weeks or even months to access support. Expressing feelings and thoughts to those close to you or a support organisation is something that has been shown to help. Although all bereavements are different, as someone who has been bereaved by suicide I personally also have some experience of what clients are going through.

I look forward to helping to drive the support service forward in Leicestershire and ensuring that we are able to help as many clients as possible.

Meet Sofia, our new Suicide Bereavement Support Officer

Hi, my name is Sofia and I have recently joined the team as a suicide bereavement support officer, offering emotional and practical support to those bereaved by suicide. Even though I only joined the team not too long ago I have already learned so much through those that already work for harmless. Working here I can see that there is a variety of wonderful people, in different roles but who share the same passion and values for helping others and that harmless is a judgement free zone.

I have a background working as a support worker and volunteering with women’s aid, this has resulted in me working with many different people from all walks of life. My background has also shown me that I love working with people and know the importance of taking care of our mental health and of one another. In fact I wish I myself had known of these services when I lost a friend to suicide, but now I am aware and work for such a great organisation I want to spread the word and help those who need it.

One of my initial worries when first starting was that I was not good enough for this role when surrounded by so many impressive people. But then I remembered that one of my strongest beliefs is that you should love yourself and accept yourself flaws and all. I also realised that clearly others believe in me so why don’t we believe in ourselves. Something that I think many of us struggle with. Instead of comparing myself to others I should be learning from them and growing as a person, which is why I know here is a place I can really grow and flourish as a person.

Meet Lisa, our new Suicide Bereavement Support Officer

Hello, I’m Lisa and I have recently joined the Tomorrow Project as a Suicide Bereavement Support Officer. So why did I take this job?……Well, having lost both my sister and uncle to suicide, I feel I can offer a genuine understanding of the difficulties people may face both with their own grief and in supporting others.

With the numbers of deaths by suicide significantly increasing in recent years, I feel the need to expand our service is paramount. That’s why I am really looking forward to working alongside my colleagues to expand our service by setting up the Chesterfield office: to ensure we are doing everything possible to reach out and support anyone in Derbyshire who has been bereaved by suicide.

Whilst I don’t yet know everyone within the company, those I have met are extremely dedicated and helpful people who are all fun to be around. I still have lots to learn (but hopefully no more eLearning for a while!) and whilst I am still getting to grips with my new role, I am eager to develop our client list as fast as possible and make our service known to everyone.

I am sharing a picture of me with my cat ‘Spartacus’. I think he is very lucky because he has 9 lives. X

Today, our wonderful colleague and friend Val, has left her Senior Therapist role at Harmless. 

Val has been working for Harmless since 2013, but joined our organisation as a volunteer before she started her counselling role.

Over the years, Val has helped countless number of people with their recovery, and for the many who met her, life got better thanks to her valuable support.

On her last day, The Harmless team presented Val with flowers, and a memory book which contained messages from colleagues and photos from her time with us.

From everyone at Harmless and The Tomorrow Project, we wish Val all the very best in the future. She knows that she will always be part of the Harmless family!