Meet our Clinical and Support Services Team

During my time as Clinical and Support Services Manager I have observed Harmless and The Tomorrow Project grow from a very small area in an office with three members to what it is today. I am proud to say I have been part of the team over the past nine years. We have grown from strength to strength enabling access to psychological services, information, training and consultancy to people who are at risk of self harm, suicidal thoughts and intent; their friends, families and professionals. People self harm to manage their distress, and as high as 1 in 10 people have at some point coped in this way. At the heart of our service there is a real sense of hope and recovery, we know that with the appropriate help, life experiences can ultimately be improved. You can help us to reduce the stigma and isolation for people who are struggling by being willing to talk about this subject.

The Tomorrow Project is a confidential suicide prevention project that has been set up to support individuals and communities to prevent suicide. Suicide is a decision that someone makes to end their life when they feel overwhelmed by their life circumstances.  The struggles they face can seem too difficult or painful and they feel and think like they have run out of options. We are providing crisis services in the community to people at risk of suicide and support to families and communities who are bereaved by suicide. Talking about the subject will shatter stigma, enable people to share their story and therefore find the support they need.

I’m excited to build on clinical services within Harmless and The Tomorrow Project working with colleagues and the community to give our community the resources, training and support needed to do your bit in supporting, signposting, and enabling help seeking.

Over the past few weeks the Tomorrow Project Team have launched our new Crisis Cafe, named by people attending, as the Catch Up Cafe. Here you can meet the team:

Adrienne Grove

Clinical and Support Services Manager

 

Val Stevens

Harmless Self Harm and Suicide Prevention Worker

 

Colin Menz

Harmless Project Worker

 

Bevan Dolan

Tomorrow Project Suicide Crisis Project Worker

 

Katie Smith

Tomorrow Project Suicide Crisis Project Worker

 

Ashley Dunstan

Tomorrow Project Suicide Bereavement Project Worker

 

For those of you looking for some support, wanting to meet the team or just a chat up, get in touch and come have a cuppa with us. To find out when the next Catch up Cafe will be, contact us at info@harmless.org.uk. See you at the catch Up Cafe!

Adrienne

Working as part of the Let’s Talk Training Team for Harmless

You may have seen recently that we’re recruiting here at Harmless, for Sessional Trainers. As the Training Co-ordinator for Harmless, I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you what it is like to be a part of this growing team.

Firstly, no working week is ever the same as the previous. Each week brings something new and exciting, new challenges and new achievements.

The Training Team get to travel all around the country, delivering bespoke or standardised training packages, attending conferences and events, going to meetings and so on. We mean it when we say all round the country. One day we could be in Dover, the next in Newcastle, another day we could be in Somerset and another Manchester. My favourite place to go has to be London.

The best bit about the travelling to all these exciting and beautiful places, is we get to meet and support so many people. To build or enhance skills, and also instil confidence in them in their professional and personal lives, by providing training around some very sensitive issues. We also get to meet many professionals in the field as well.

On a day to day basis, we spend our time supporting organisations and services with their training needs. We review all our content to ensure it is up to date with new and emerging research, check that it is in line with current standards and guidelines and importantly, that it has service user led strategies to support distress. We get to design new resources and activities, make films to use within training, project manage training contracts. The list goes on.

As well as going nationally, we also plan and run a range of training packages in house, that includes our own bespoke CPD accredited self harm training, mental health and suicide awareness and prevention training, ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and MHFA (Mental Health First Aid). We also run a lot of PSHE sessions within schools, looking at emotional wellbeing and resilience for young people, as well as providing workshops for staff and parents.

Finally, I get to work with the rest of the team to organise fundraising events (don’t forget to join us on 7th October 2016 for this year’s event), we organise our annual conference – ‘From Harm to Hope’ (1st March 2017 – make sure you join us for that too!). I get to attend radio interviews, speak at events to lots of people at a time, we attend award ceremonies! I’ve even been on the TV with the rest of the team too!

So, all in all, it’s a team that keeps you busy! But it’s also an exciting and rewarding team to be a part of.

If you would like any information on the training we provide, our event or conference, please contact us on info@harmless.org.uk

Trying my hand at something different…

As well as delivering training nationally I also get to try my hand at many other projects within Harmless and a couple of weeks ago I got to do just that.

Caroline Harroe, our CEO, and I worked with Nottingham University to help create some short clips which are going to be used to disseminate research findings on Young people and Self harm. To help us create these innovative pieces we had fantastic support from a local organisation the NBV Media Studios, recommend to anyone looking for support in creating small media pieces for their company.

I exchanged my projector and laptop for green screens, cameras and editing software and I must say the day was fun and inspirational! To have the ability to capture these young people’s feelings and experiences on camera was truly humbling.

We see so much in the news about Young People and what should be done for them, however, how often do we ask young people directly what they want, or how they see things? In a single day it became crystal clear that we spend much of time worrying, fearing the worst, predicting the outcomes and yet, if we stopped and listened we would be all the more wiser for it. Over protection does not lead to prevention, empowerment and collaboration do!

To see or hear from first hand experiences then why not sign up or book on to our training? Email: training@harmless.org.uk

For more information on this research, “Understanding and Responding to Self harm in Young People: Findings from the Listen-UP! Project,” why not attend the workshops:

Nottingham City centre 23rd/24th June 10am-2pm
Leicester City centre 27th/29th June 10am-2pm

http://www.listen-up.ac.uk/listen-up/dissemination.aspx

For more information on NBV Media Studio: https://nbv.co.uk/property/media-studio/

Would you like to work for Harmless and The Tomorrow Project?

We are currently recruiting for a number of positions within the organisation to join our specialist self harm and suicide prevention team.

For an application form and job description, or for more information please email info@harmless.org.uk or call 01159 348445 (admin line only). Please include which job you are applying for in your email.

Positions:

  • Suicide Bereavement Project Worker
  • Suicide Crisis Project Worker

Application closing date(s) Friday 18th March 2016.

Interviews to be held w/c 28th March 2016.

More information on all positions can be found below:

JOB TITLE: Suicide Bereavement Project Worker

Hours: 37.5 hours per week

Pay:  £19k to £24k pro rata (Depending on experience)

 We are currently recruiting a project worker to join the Harmless team. This role will primarily involve working with clients who access the service who experience self harm or are at risk of self harm and suicide.

MAIN PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF THE JOB

  • To provide a bereavement pathway for individuals effected by the traumatic loss of a self-harm or suspected suicide death.
  • To provide an early response (within 72 hours) of bereavement, making contact with the primary bereaved and informing them of our service
  • To distribute the Help is at Hand document to all bereaved families with whom we have contact and to undertake a preliminary assessment of need and risk.
  • To offer, for those wishing to uptake, a short term support service of individualised care in order to promote the health, hope and recovery amongst people impacted by suicide.
  • To support and offer information relating to the inquest process.
  • To work collaboratively with communities of need to promote health and recovery amongst individuals by using and demonstrating a range of non-clinical interventions that promote coping and resilience and that enable people face and overcome their traumatic bereavement.
  • To support the recovery of service users by engaging in activities and practical support that will improve the quality of life, for instance support employment, social engagement, advocacy and housing; to support clients to manage the very specific set of difficulties that can be faced when a traumatic bereavement through self harm.
  • To ensure that clients are engaged in the appropriate services to meet their longer term support needs.
  • To co-ordinate, where necessary a safeguarding response in line with local practices and services to ensure that an individual is safe and has a coordinated package of care to ensure they survive their crisis in the most helpful manner for them.
  • To support the Clinical and Support services manager to uphold the short term, medium term and long term organisational and the clinical and support team’s objectives.

OTHER DUTIES AND KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

To undertake collaborative multidisciplinary work to uphold safety and support for the communities of need e.g. working with school staff, mental health staff or peers to ensure they are contained by well-informed communities.

  • To uphold and assist referral pathways for service users and reduce stigma associated with seeking help for suicide bereavement and/or crisis and/or working with other services to promote the most effective care package for the individual.

JOB TITLE: Suicide Crisis Project Worker

Hours: 37.5 hours per week

Pay:  £19k to £24k pro rata (Depending on experience)

MAIN PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF THE JOB

  • To provide an assertive outreach approach across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, to promote a preventative and early intervention approach to people experiencing suicide crisis that are not eligible for existing provision.
  • To work collaboratively with communities of need to promote health and recovery amongst individuals by using and demonstrating a range of non-clinical interventions that promote coping and resilience and that overcome crisis.
  • To support the recovery of service users by engaging in activities and practical support that will improve the quality of life, for instance support employment, social engagement, advocacy and housing.
  • To ensure that clients are engaged in the appropriate services to meet their longer term support needs.
  • To co-ordinate, where necessary a safeguarding response in line with local practices and services to ensure that an individual is safe and has a coordinated package of care to ensure they survive their crisis in the most helpful manner for them.
  • To support the Clinical and Support services manager to uphold the short term, medium term and long term organisational and the clinical and support team’s objectives.

OTHER DUTIES AND KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

To undertake collaborative multidisciplinary work to uphold safety and support for the communities of need e.g. working with school staff, mental health staff or peers to ensure they are contained by well-informed communities.

  • To uphold and assist referral pathways for service users and reduce stigma associated with seeking help for suicide crisis and/or working with other services to promote the most effective care package for the individual.

‘Get over it’

As I sat and reflected before 2 days of Mental Health First Aid Training, I started thinking about anxiety, more specifically,  phobias and fears.

As a mental health condition, anxiety is a condition that is disregarded very quickly and easily by society, however anxiety is an extremely debilitating mental health condition.

Something I find really challenging is when someone has a genuine fear and people are so quick to shrug it off as irrational or pathetic. It’s doesn’t matter if it is ‘irrational’ it is still real for that person! I’m quite sure at some point in all our lives we have all experienced fear in some sense, whether it be of an object, a situation, a social occasion, a place, or anything at all. I’m sure we all know what fear feels like. Even if you have ever only experienced it for a short period of time when a situation hasn’t felt quite right or before you did something out your comfort zone that scared you for a couple of minutes, we’ve all felt that overwhelming sense of fear.

The thing is with fear, when a person experiences a real fear for them (and important to state here is that what may seem pathetic and insignificant to one person could have huge significance for someone else) all that person can think about is the worst case scenario!  I’m going to die, I won’t survive this situation,  this is too much and this feeling is overpowering and all consuming! At that point a person can’t rationalise how they’re feeling. They can’t make sense of that situation to say ‘actually, no, what am I thinking? All is good and I am safe’. People can’t rationalise those thoughts and feelings.

I write this thinking of my own experience of my biggest fear. Flying. See, now I love travelling and have travelled all round the world seeing and experiencing some amazing places and cultures and never used to have any problem flying. However, a number of years ago, I had a panic attack on a flight home from a family holiday. I’d never experienced that on a plane before and found it extremely distressing. Ever since that flight I have been utterly terrified of flying. To the point of even thinking about going on a plane or seeing planes in films gets my pulse racing and my palms sweating, leads me to have bad dreams and just generally feeling terrified and panicked.

I think what I find the most difficult to get my head round is when I have people telling me to ‘get over it’ or ‘you need to get over your fear of flying’ or ‘stop being stupid’. At that moment in time I don’t need someone telling me I need to ‘get over it’. If I knew how to do that I would have done it ages ago because I don’t like to feel scared, I don’t like complete strangers seeing me nervous and panicked, I don’t like feeling like I am going to die because I’m thinking the worst case scenario!! I don’t like to be afraid but I am and I need support for that. I need someone to say ‘you’ll be ok’ or ‘you’re safe, you’re not on your own, I’m here with you’

How is my fear of flying any different from your fear of heights or your fear of bees or your fear of spiders or your fear of meeting new people and social occasions or whatever it is you fear?  Why is it OK for you to feel scared but not me?

So basically,  I guess the point I’m trying to get across is that fears and phobias are real! They’re debilitating! They’re all consuming!  We all know what fear feels like, so next time I’m scared and I feel alone and vulnerable, how about you take a little time to think about how you feel when faced with your phobia and then think about the support you would need and apply that to others.

Mental Health First Aid Training is being delivered again by Harmless on 21 and 22nd January. Come along and gain the confidence and skills to respond effectively to anxiety and other mental health conditions.

Contact sophie@harmless.org.uk for more details.

Our Training Coordinator, Sophie, Reflects on her first six months with Harmless

I have now been working at Harmless for 6 months. I’m not quite sure where the time has gone, but I am loving every minute of it and would not change it for the world.

My role has been extremely varied, intense, exciting, emotive, nerve wracking etc.

Within this time I have been so fortunate to experience going to lots of conferences, and meeting so many influential, inspirational and friendly individuals from around the country. I have delivered training on self harm, mental health and suicide awareness. I’ve travelled to new places around the country, with travelling being something I love, so this is an added bonus for me.

I really enjoy attending conferences and delivering training in a range of localities as it provides a fantastic opportunity to network, meet people from a range of organisations around the country and share best practice. Being able to share information about Harmless and the work we do makes me extremely proud to be a part of it.

As part of my role, I have also been managing the training bookings and I can honestly say, every time a booking is secured, the feeling of achievement and positivity I get, never wears off. The reason for this is that I know the money raised from these confirmed bookings is going towards helping individuals in distress and is saving lives. It also means we are raising awareness on a range of subject matters, reducing stigma and discrimination and equipping professionals and communities to respond effectively to self harm, mental health and suicide.

One of the biggest impacts for me is having strangers open up and share how they are feeling, once they know the work I do. I have had friends approach me saying they have had thoughts of suicide or a family member has a mental health condition or they self harm and that they find it really tough. I have had taxi drivers in London engage in deep conversation about suicide and share with me that they’re finding things really difficult at present and they’re not sure how they will cope going forward. Knowing I can make a difference by taking the time to engage with these individuals really gives me hope, that as a society, we are becoming more aware of self harm, mental health and suicide and we have the confidence, to talk openly, with strangers. Also, if during the few minutes I was able to listen and connect with these individuals, give them that time to verbalise their feelings, recognise they were struggling and actually just share with someone and gain information on who they can get support from, this was time well spent.

I was also involved in our annual event preparation, which meant getting prize donations, selling raffle tickets, selling tickets and general preparation on this. The event was a big success and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. It was an emotive, funny, entertaining social occasion, where again, there was the opportunity to meet lots of people.

Overall, my first 6 months at Harmless have been exceptionally positive and rewarding. There have been ups and downs during this time, as you would expect in this profession.  We are committed to changing lives and providing hope to those in distress as well as their families, friends carers etc. Because we are so passionate about the work we do, when we do experience these ‘down’ moments, it has a huge impact on us emotionally. As a member of the Harmless team, I found I have been well supported through these upsetting times and we work together to pick each other up and move forward to continue to fight even harder to make a difference.

Our Annual Celebration Event 2015 a Huge Success

On Friday, Harmless and The Tomorrow Project hosted their annual evening of celebration at the Hilton Hotel in Nottingham. The purpose of the event was to celebrate our achievements, excellent work and commitment to the field of self harm and suicide prevention over the past 12 months.

On the night, we welcomed Polly Yates, who provided us with some fantastic live music and we were also treated to a spoken word performance from our former administrator, Hayley Green.

While the past year has been significant and we have achieved so much, it has not been without its difficulties, particularly with the Tomorrow Project. The project has now lost all of its funding from the local authorities and we face a significant financial shortfall for the forthcoming year. Unless we manage to change the situation, many people in crisis, especially those at risk of suicide or who are self harming, will be without the support that they need.

During the event we heard a moving speech made by, Penny, who has received important help from the Tomorrow Project. We hope that we can spread word of the fantastic work we do and gather much needed support to keep the project alive so that we can continue saving lives.

We are pleased to announce that we raised over £5,000. As demand for our services significantly increases, Both Harmless and the Tomorrow Project will use this money to help us to continue to work closely with local people to ensure that those in distress get the help and support they need. We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who donated and purchased raffle tickets and auction items; it is only with your support that we can continue to save lives.

We are extremely grateful to each and every person that came along and supported us, and to all those who contributed to what was a wonderful evening of celebration. We now look forward to the year ahead!

Meet the Team: Sarah

Hi, my name is Sarah and I am a Trainer for Harmless.

My role is to connect with as many people as possible and raise awareness and knowledge around the areas of self-harm and suicide. I will also be contributing towards the development of the training programme. Training is given in order to meet people’s needs but, just as importantly to inspire prevention.

I am a new member of Harmless and am very excited to be working for such a remarkable organisation. Harmless has truly overwhelmed me by the amount it has achieved through such a small yet astounding group of people. Every member gives their all to provide a voice to those that are unheard and support those who feel alone.

My background is mainly in education, both primary and secondary. I have been a teacher and also worked as a part of a pastoral team in schools. As a result this has brought me into close contact with many of the trials and tribulations young adolescents experience. I also have personal experience of self-harm and as a result believe passionately in the value and importance of organisations such as Harmless. I believe Harmless provides support and hope to many, something which was not available to me when I was young.

By working with Harmless I am hoping to reach out to the nation, and even beyond, to enlighten minds and provide hope.

To book any of our courses take a look at our website. Places are limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment. Upcoming courses include:

MHFA 26th – 27th August: Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an educational course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help a person who may be developing a mental health issue.

ASIST 7th – 8th September: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is for everyone 16 or older—regardless of prior experience—who wants to be able to provide suicide first aid.

Meet the Team: Jack, our Administrator

Hello, I’m Jack. I am currently part of the administration team here at Harmless. My role within the organisation can be quite varied, from completing day to day administration tasks to helping to organise Harmless’ annual celebration event and everything in between.

Alongside my role as an administrator, I am also part of the training team. Together with our Training Co-ordinator, Sophie, we facilitate and organise the delivery or self harm and suicide awareness training to many groups and organisations from across the country.

However it’s not just training direct to organisations we provide, we also hold many different training days here at Harmless HQ tackling a variety of different subjects. Some of our upcoming training includes our Introduction to Self Harm General Training day with the next session to take place on 23rd June. We will also be running Mental Health First Aid Training (MHFA) as well as Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and sessions on a regular basis, the latter next being held on 7th-8th September.

I am looking forward to being part of all of these exciting changes and additions to the Harmless training program, as we spread awareness, information and skills on how to support those who Self Harm or have been affected by Suicide.

Meet the team: Sophie, our Training Co-ordinator

My name is Sophie and I am the Training Co-ordinator for Harmless. As part of my role I also deliver ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and MHFA (Mental Health First Aid) training.

I have worked at Harmless for about 2 months now and am thoroughly enjoying my role.  Having known about Harmless for quite a few years, I was drawn to it as I have had my own personal experiences through life and know people that also have had their own. Working here I knew I could share these experiences and not feel judged. Due to this, I really wanted to be able to help in raising awareness and work towards reducing stigma by being able to share my experiences first hand.

It is an extremely varied role, however focuses on the training aspect that Harmless provide. On a day to day basis I manage the team of Trainers, manage the training bookings, liaise with clients about their training needs and obtain new and regular training to ensure we can continue to raise awareness of self-harm, suicide prevention and support other organisations effectively.

I am very committed to being able to deliver a range of training and am extremely excited to be delivering ASIST training in September and MHFA very soon as well. These 2 day workshops are so vital in terms of being able to support those at risk of suicide and those in crisis in regards to mental ill-health, so I am very proud to be delivering these. Not only does it help people at risk, it also helps to reduce stigma around such a difficult subject and gives people the skills and confidence to be able to talk about these topics.

I really look forward to sharing with you how these deliveries go.