Mental Health Today – Wales #MHTWales17

Last week I was invited to speak at the Mental Health Today conference in Cardiff. I set off on the Tuesday afternoon to make my way and was greeted to Wales with sun filled valleys and lush, green hill tops- what a sight!

As I entered Cardiff the scenery changed to a hive of activity, with tall buildings and busy people. I found my way through the traffic to my destination, the Premier Inn. With the extra excuse of it being Mental Health Awareness week I made sure I had a delicious hot meal and enjoyed a bubble bath with my first Lush (Handmade cosmetics) bath bomb.

With approximately 400 people attending the conference I was excited to mingle and meet new faces. The day of the conference was one of inspiration and hope. So many people and so many experiences to share! One particular presentation from Cyfle Cymru really stuck out for me, with a service user sharing their story with us. He mentioned the importance of creating space to do the things we want to do and taking the time to understand what getting well meant. I felt this message was such an important one for all of us to take note of. If we are to thrive it is essential we let ourselves explore what this looks like and how it will be done.

Before long it was my turn to present. Many people tell me I am confident when presenting, something I still struggle to accept after many years of managing my anxiety. As many of you may agree it is surprising just how much can go through your mind before you step up to speak. One of the last thoughts I had, whilst taking deep breaths and walking up to the stand, was how awe-inspiring it was to have so many people gathered together in one space all with the same mission to help improve the lives of those with mental health conditions- and I was lucky enough to contribute to this.

The whole day radiated hope and drive for constant change and I look forward to experiencing more of this atmosphere again at our own National conference on the 1st March, From Harm to Hope.

For more feedback on what took place at Mental Health Today and to read the interview I had on how best to support those who self harm please click here.

For more information on our own conference, From Harm to Hope email:


Harmless on BBC East Midlands Today news yesterday evening

Val Stevens, our Specialist Self Harm and Suicide Prevention Therapist, speaking out yesterday in response to ‘the number of young girls in Leicester needing hospital care for self harm has more then double in the last three years’. BBC East Midlands watch from 2:20… 


World Health Day- 7th April 2017

World Health Organization (WHO) is leading a one-year global campaign on depression. The goal of the campaign is that more people with depression, everywhere in the world, both seek and get help.

What’s it like living with depression…

I suffer with depression and anxiety and have done for the majority of my life. My way of describing depression is as if someone has poured a large jug of water into your head and your brain is drowning but on the outside no one would know.

Matthew Johnstone author and illustrator of, “I had a Black Dog” decided to write the book as a visual articulation of what it is to suffer depression. His wish is that his story is shared with partners, parents, siblings, friends, even doctors and therapists to help articulate what you or someone you know is going through. He also highlights the importance of recovery explaining that everyone’s path to recovery is different. 

Never, ever give up the fight; Black Dog can be beaten. As Winston Churchill said, “If you find yourself going through hell, keep going.”

What stats have to say…

Depression: let’s talk

To find out more information and what you can do to help visit…


Harmless speak on talkRADIO about self harm

In the busy lead up to Christmas we were approached by a number of radio stations. This was in response to the published Self harm stats from the NSPCC which highlighted that 19,000 children were admitted to hospital after harming themselves last year – a 14% rise over three years (for more on those stats please click here:

I spoke with talkRADIO about self harm and appropriate ways to support and respond to individuals who self harm. To listen to the interview please click the following link:

The Tomorrow Project shortlisted for a BBC Radio 4 All in the Mind Award

The Tomorrow Project has been shortlisted for a BBC Radio 4 All in the Mind Award. We have been nominated for our work in suicide prevention within the community. From a total of 300 nominations in our category we have been shortlisted as one of the top 3. The winner of the awards will be announced on 27th June 2016 at an event in London.

As part of our nomination, we will be broadcast on BBC’s Radio 4 tonight (24th May 2016) from 9pm, where we will be discussing the vital role we provide in the community in helping to save lives.

Make sure you tune in to the All in the Mind Programme from 9pm.

To listen to the broadcast, click the following link:

Or tune into BBC Radio 4 on 92-95fm.

In the News: How schizophrenia changed the whole course of my life

Alice Evans was at university when she developed schizophrenia. She didn’t leave her parents’ house for the next ten years. 

I was about 20 and studying at university when I first became seriously unwell. I’d come from a small rural village in Devon, with my bags in tow, and it was the first time I’d even really been to a city.

When I got to university it was daunting for me to be away from home but I made some friends, and was enjoying my drama course. I couldn’t shake depressive thoughts I’d had during my teenage years though.

I was working three jobs to make my rent and on top of my degree it proved to be too much.

Eventually I stopped sleeping entirely and that was when the problems really started.


For the full story…

Teenage mental health… our future

All in the mind on BBC Radio 4 discusses the issues surrounding teenage mental health.  Claudia Hammond is joined by a panel of experts, Shirley Reynolds, Dr Dickon Bevington, Kimberley Robinson and Sarah Hulyer, to discuss the pressures teenagers face and offer thoughts on how services could be reshaped to cope with this changing demand as well as suggest what parents can do to help their teenagers.

This radio programme is definitely worth a listen. With 1 in 10, 5-15yr olds experiencing a mental health difficulty and 1 in 5 of those adolescents being rejected for treatment, teenage mental health is a growing concern.

Furthermore risk factors for mental health difficulties appear to be expanding. Not only does deprivation and abuse influence teenage mental health, Shirley Reynolds also highlights the high numbers of adolescents who are struggling within enriched environments. So why is this?

The show went out into the community for the answer and with around 5,000 responses with these 5 themes appeared. These included school stress, Bullying, Sexual pressures, uncertain futures and lack of access to help. The theme ‘uncertain futures’ was one that hit home with me. Many of the responses discussed the problem of identity and the pressures and expectations to know who you are and where you are going. It was clear that these expectations led to perfectionist beliefs which in turn left many adolescents fearful of failure. Some described a choking anxiety and an all-consuming fear of making mistakes.

These young people are our future, they are blank pages waiting to absorb the wonders of the world we live in. They will continue our work, our beliefs, our hopes and yet are we nurturing and guiding them into healthy, resilient, hopeful beings? Or do we need to change? Just because something worked before doesn’t mean it is supportive now, we need to change our support strategies and adapt to the needs of our future generations.

If you would like to watch this show, please click the following link:

If you want to know more about how to support young people with mental health difficulties and you live or work in Nottingham City why not sign up for some free mental health workshops.


Monday 16th November

MHFA Lite 9:30am – 12:30pm

MHFA Lite is an introductory mental health awareness course. You’ll receive a MHFA Lite manual that you can take away with you at the end of the session and also an attendance certificate from MHFA England

Thursday 19th November

Mental Health Awareness Training for Frontline Workers 1:00pm – 5:00pm

This workshop will focus on improving skills and confidence to recognise people with mental health problems and offer appropriate support

Friday 27th November

Mental Health Community Workshop – Carers and Citizens 1:30pm – 3:30pm

These workshops will focus on how to promote resilience and wellbeing in the community through building of awareness and resilience amongst citizens and carers

A drop in session will be held after the Community Workshop

Monday 30th November

Mental Health in the Workplace – Managers training 1:00pm – 5:00pm

This course will examine how practical support can be provided to create m environment that is healthy for staff and promote interventions to raise awareness.

The course will show delegates what they can do to support other staff and colleagues who may be experiencing problems with their mental health

By improving mental health outcomes at work delegates will benefit from;

•          Compliance with legislation such as the Equalities Act

•          Reduced grievance and discrimination claims

•          Demonstrable  corporate social responsibility

•          Reduced staff turnover

•          Reduced sickness absence

•          A healthier workplace

•          Better staff morale

•          More committed staff, and

•          Skills retention


Interested? Then please email, or call the office on 0115 934 8445, and ask to speak to one of our training team.

Our CEO, Caroline, Speaks in Response to the Results of the ‘Girlguiding Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2015′

Girlguiding Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2015 has shown that an alarming number of girls aged 11-21 in the UK are experiencing emotional distress, but more alarmingly, that they feel that the parents and adults in their lives fail to notice or understand these.

Our CEO, Caroline Harroe gave comment today to Capital fm on the report, stating that “whilst what the report states is upsetting, it does not come as a surprise… we hear the stories of young people on a daily basis and whilst we are aware that more people are coming forwards to seek support, there is still a huge gap between the needs of young people and how well they are received by adults. This report is just a manifestation of what we see every day in society; young people are disempowered and their distress is often written off as ‘immature’ or ‘hormonal’. We need to listen sooner to the needs of young people and help them to express themselves freely in order to get the help that they need.”

You can listen to the interview with Caroline on Capital fm across the course of the afternoon and read the full article below:


 Parents are too often out of touch with the mental health pressures faced by girls and young women, suggests research.

Self-harm was the biggest health concern for girls aged 11-21, according to the Girlguiding Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2015.

Researchers questioned a representative sample of more than 1,500 UK girls and young women aged seven to 21.

The findings “provide a stark warning”, said chief executive Julie Bentley.


The figures show the mental wellbeing and resilience of UK girls are under threat – and yet adults are failing to recognise this, according to the organisation, the UK’s largest charity for girls and young women.

Among more than 1,000 11-to-21-year-old girls and young women questioned, the top health concerns were self-harm, mental illness, depression and eating disorders, along with smoking.

Some 62% of this age group said they knew a girl or young woman who had experienced a mental health problem, while 82% said adults often failed to recognise the pressures they faced.

Overall, more than a third (37%) said they had needed help with their own mental health.

Girlguiding says comparable figures from its 2010 survey showed girls’ top concerns then were binge-drinking, smoking and drug abuse.


The 2015 survey suggests girls believe their parents’ worries are stuck in the past, focusing on drug and alcohol abuse.

Worries about sexual harassment and low body confidence are widespread, suggests the survey.

Three-quarters of the 11-to-21 age group said anxiety about sexual harassment had had a negative impact on them in some way, for example, affecting what they wore and how they felt about their bodies.

Some 39% said they had experienced a demeaning comment on their appearance within the past week.

Among the seven-to-11 age group, 83% reported feeling sad or down and 16% said this was because of concerns about their looks.

Root causes

Ms Bentley called for an open conversation about the issues.

“By listening to girls we can work together to tackle the root causes of their distress and champion their potential.”

Angela Samata – Life After Suicide BBC1 Tuesday March 17th 2015 22.45

As a TASC Core Member and supporter, Harmless would like to inform you all about a programme that is being screened on BBC 1 on Tuesday March 17th at 22.45. A link to the Radio Times is here. The programme is being presented by Angela Samata, who was chair of the Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide and a member of The Alliance of Suicide Prevention Charities (TASC).

Angela’s partner Mark took his own life 11 years ago and she meets others who have experienced a similar loss, asking why some people choose to take their own lives and whether those left behind can come to terms with their bereavement. She meets Downton Abbey actor David Robb, a Suffolk farmer and Norfolk woman who lives with the suicides of both her husband and son.


In The News: Beds crisis hits NHS care for mentally ill children

Beds crisis hits NHS care for mentally ill children

Hospitals have been advised to adopt emergency procedures and admit young mental health patients to adult wards.

The NHS crisis intensified this weekend as hospitals were advised to adopt emergency procedures and admit young mental health patients to adult wards because of an acute national shortage of places for children and adolescents.

Instructions sent by NHS England on Friday night to hospital trusts, and leaked to the Observer, state that the shortage of beds for young mental health patients is now so serious that 16- and 17-year-olds – who should be admitted to specialist child adolescent mental health facilities (CAMHS) – are likely instead to be admitted to adult wards.

The Mental Health Act 1983 states that 16- and 17-year-olds should only be admitted to adult wards in a “crisis situation” and for a short period, or where a patient is nearly 18 and the adult ward has appropriate specialist services.

Labour’s shadow minister for public health, Luciana Berger, described the situation as “utterly appalling” and blamed the crisis on £50m of cuts to children’s mental health services since 2010.

In the email seen by the Observer, which was sent on Friday on the instruction of national officials working for NHS England, the medical director for East Anglia, says: “I have just been asked to inform you all by the national specialist commissioning team of the current national lack of child and adolescent mental health beds.

“I do hope that you will not have cause to need one for any of your young population over the weekend but just to advise of the likely challenge if you do … Depending on your hospital policy this is likely to mean the 16- 18-year-olds will need admission to the adult wards, which I appreciate causes an even bigger challenge.”

NHS England declined to say whether similar instructions had been issued nationwide, as the memo suggested. But a spokesman said beds were still available for the most serious cases.

“Since August last year we’ve opened an extra 46 beds for children with the most severe mental health needs. Many need this care so, while beds are available we have asked services to ensure they have plans in place for any young person with mental health problems to receive the right care, in the right place at the right time to suit their individual needs.”

Sarah Brennan, chief executive of the mental health charity YoungMinds, said: “It is unacceptable that children and young people are being placed on adult wards which is completely inappropriate for them, and which the Mental Health Act rightly says should not happen. Young people in crisis should also not be transferred hundreds of miles to get a bed, which is going to be the result of this situation and in fact has been for far too long.

For full story follow the link