Harmless appear in national news

Harmless have appeared in numerous news stories surrounding the sharp rise in recent reported cases of self harm in young girls aged 13-16.

A few of our clients and our CEO, Caroline Harroe, have taken part in various national news stories around this recent statistic.

Yesterday we filmed a piece for Sky News which has featured on the Sky News channel and online at various times throughout today.

You can watch this news story at this link: http://news.sky.com/video/girls-self-harming-more-due-to-social-media-11087600

We have also been filming today for ITV national news which was broadcast on today’s lunchtime news bulletin. This story will also feature on ITV Central News at 6pm this evening. Make sure you tune in!

In the News: Police dealing with record level of phone calls on mental health

Britain’s biggest police force received a phone call relating to mental health every five minutes last year, an escalating level of demand caused by NHS services struggling to cope.

The number of calls handled by the Metropolitan police in which someone was concerned about a person’s mental health hit a record 115,000 in the last year: on average 315 a day, or about 13 an hour.

Volumes have grown by nearly a third since 2011-12, according to data released under freedom of information legislation, and officers fear the demand for help from the public will continue to increase.

One senior police officer told the Guardian a reduction in the ability to cope of NHS mental health services was a key factor in the rise in mental health calls to the police, and it was a national trend.

Insp Michael Brown, mental health coordinator for the College of Policing, said police had become better at recording such calls but this could not account for the big rise.

“We know there is more demand on NHS mental health services and their funding has been cut,” he said.

Commander Richard Smith, head of safeguarding at the Met, said: “Based on current trends, section 136 demand is set to double in London in the next 10 years as it’s increasing by approximately 10% each year.”

Smith added: “The issues we deal with include those with mental ill health who are involved in crime as victims or suspects as well as people who are in crisis in their home or in a public place.”

Nationally, police believe a significant number of those about whom they get calls are already under the care of NHS mental health services, or have been, which is beginning to have an effect on policing.

In West Yorkshire, mental health nurses are being employed in two custody suites to help with people brought in by officers. The force says the mental health incidents it deals with every month have risen to 1,300, up from 850 two years ago.

Brown added that so called “street triage projects” across Britain, where calls are attended by a mental health expert and a police officer, showed that in the majority of cases, police were not needed to resolve the problem.

In Lincolnshire, mental health nurses will now work in the police control room to give clinical advice to police dealing with callers.

The Met figures were obtained by the Labour party under freedom of information legislation. The full figures show that in the 12 months up to 20 July 2017, the Met received 115,000 calls flagged up on its systems as regarding mental health, up 33% on the volume of calls received in 2011-12.

Louise Haigh, the shadow police minister, said: “The dismantling of vital early intervention services forces those with mental health issues on to lengthy waiting lists.

“In desperation or in crisis, they will turn to the police, who are acting as the service of last resort, a role they are wholly unequipped for.

“While facing a savage cut in numbers, the police are increasingly being asked to pick up the pieces of a scandalous lack of mental health provision. Incidents involving mental health are at record highs as police resilience reaches rock bottom.

“The result is genuinely frightening and these figures should act as a wake-up call for the government.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Everyone should be able to access the mental health support they need. We have made major improvements in recent years, including setting up the first ever access and waiting standards for mental health and increasing mental health spending year on year to a record £11.6 billion in 2016/17.

For the full article: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/28/police-phone-calls-mental-health-nhs

In the News: We need to talk about graduate depression

One in four undergraduates experience mental health issues during their studies according to YouGov, but there is little said of the awful feeling post-graduation that leaves students feeling anxious, upset and confused.

This silent problem is taking over the lives of recent graduates, and while conversations around mental health in general have been getting louder, this is an area that is still relatively quiet.

Finishing university is supposed to be a special moment when your life can finally start. Watch out world, here you come, all bright eyed and bushy tailed – but sadly, this isn’t always the case.

After years of being in full-time education, it is now time to start fiercely competing with others in the same situation as you for that much talked about dream job.

Leaving university is a shock to the system.

It’s no longer about making sure you’ve done the extra reading and taking part in seminars, but about being expected to land a job, have a plan and start saving for things like a mortgage.

And when we take a step back and realise that we are leaving a way of life we’ve been in since we were 3-years-old, it is easy to see why graduates are feeling this way.

Education is a well-structured system, and the loss of this leaves many graduates feeling as though they are drifting, often too afraid to commit to one solid career field, fearing that it may be the wrong one.

Those on the hunt for jobs are placed in an impossible situation; they are either under qualified for a role relevant to their studies, or find themselves over qualified for a temporary job to get them by.

Studying for a degree brings its own stresses, and students should not be disheartened or discouraged by anyone who devalues what they are doing; it should be acknowledged that help is within reach if the post-university prospects do not exceed or live up to expectations that students may have for their futures.

In the few months, or weeks in some cases, between exam period to graduation date, and graduation ceremony to ‘real world’, a lot is expected to change in a short period of time, and the transition is not always an easy one. There needs to be more focus from the authorities on the transition from university to employment.

The BACP gives the following advice for anyone who is concerned they are experiencing post-university depression. Primarily, ‘it’s good to talk’, so the first step is to open up to friends, colleagues, family members or a partner. By telling someone how the movement from university to real world is making you feel, often a positive result can be reached.

If this does not help, then you are advised to seek professional help. In a safe, confidential place, anyone suffering from post-university depression can talk with their GP.

Full link to articles: http://metro.co.uk/2017/07/17/why-is-no-one-talking-about-post-graduate-depression-6760769/

http://www.independent.co.uk/student/student-life/health/graduate-blues-why-we-need-to-talk-about-post-university-depression-8729522.html

In the News: How to support a depressed partner while maintaining your own mental health

here is no lightning-bolt moment when you realise you are losing your sense of self; just an absence. When you are caring for someone you love, your wants and needs are supplanted by theirs, because what you want, more than anything, is for them to be well. Looking after a partner with mental health problems – in my case, my husband Rob, who had chronic depression – is complicated.

Like many people, Rob and I were not raised in a society that acknowledged, let alone spoke about, depression. The silence and stigma shaped how he dealt with his illness: indeed, he struggled with the very idea of being ill. He told me fairly early on in our relationship that he had depression, but I had no idea what this entailed – the scale, the scope, the fact that a chronic illness like this can recur every year and linger for months.

I didn’t know what questions to ask. And Rob struggled to articulate how bad it was. He wanted to be “normal” so he expended a lot of energy trying to pretend he was OK when he wasn’t. In 2015, Rob took his life. The reasons are complex, but I believe it was a mix of depression and an addiction to the opiates he used to self-medicate.

Although I am painfully aware of how Rob’s battle ended, I am often asked about how I dealt with it when he was alive. Hindsight is always bittersweet, but I did learn a lot – especially about taking care of my own mental health.

Look after yourself

Feeling that you have to handle everything is natural, but you have to look after yourself or you won’t be any use to your partner. “That pressure to keep it all going can feel too much,” says Dr Monica Cain, counselling psychologist at Nightingale hospital in London. She advises “taking that pressure seriously. It’s something that is very difficult to manage even at the best of times.”

Remember that depression isn’t just a mental illness

It used to drive me mad that Rob wouldn’t get out of bed. It took a while to realise that he “couldn’t” rather than “wouldn’t”. I was so sure he would feel better if he came out for a walk or met his friends, but depression is a physical illness, too. As Dr Cain says: “Physically, depression impacts energy levels. People sometimes feel very tired and want to stay in bed all the time.”

Don’t stop doing the things you love

When your partner can’t get out of bed or come to social engagements with you, there can be anger and frustration. Jayne Hardy, founder of the Blurt Foundation, which helps those affected by depression, says the “feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and unworthiness” depressed people may have mean they often “place loved ones on a pedestal”. She says their skewed perspective means they can “struggle to see what they have to offer you”.

On more than one occasion, Rob said to me: “I feel like I’m ruining your life.” I stopped doing the things I loved and, because I stayed at home with him, it made him feel guilty that I was missing out.

Take charge of admin and finance

People with depression find even mundane tasks, such as opening the post or going to the shops, impossible. Often, they keep their finances hidden, says Dr Cain. “It can feel quite shameful for them to say: ‘I’m finding it difficult to stay on top of it.’” This can be stressful for their partners. As Dr Antonis Kousoulis, a clinician and an assistant director at the Mental Health Foundation, says: “Being the main source of support for a partner with depression can add a lot of pressure.” But it is still better than not knowing what’s happening with your partner’s finances or admin. So, to maintain your own mental health and avoid unnecessary stress, it may be easier to have an agreement with your partner that, when they are ill, you will be in the admin driving seat. And when they feel able, they will sort it out.

Talk to your friends and family

You may fear that friends and family won’t understand. But trying to maintain appearances while supporting your partner is exhausting. “Opening up conversations to friends and families, and getting them involved usually makes a big difference in tackling the stigma and building a circle of support,” says Dr Kousoulis. Hardy adds: “All the advice we would give to someone who is unwell with depression also applies to loved ones who support us: make sure you are supported, reach out for help in understanding more about the illness, keep the channels of communication open; don’t be afraid to ask questions, and prioritise self-care.”

Don’t take it personally

There is the person you fell in love with, who makes you laugh until it hurts – and then there are the bad days, when you are dealing with a stranger who won’t let you in. “Depression can magnify or alter emotions,” says Dr Kousoulis. “A person can have emotional highs and lows in equal degrees, so it is important not to take changes personally.”

This can be easier said than done. I found my own coping mechanisms – therapy, exercise and lowering my expectations of what I needed and wanted from Rob when he was feeling bad. I knew that somewhere inside this person was my husband, so from time to time, I’d leave him postcards telling him how much I loved him. He didn’t react in an effusive way but I know it got through because he kept every one in a memory box.

Above all, hold on to your love. “You won’t always feel as though you are making any progress,” says Hardy. “You, too, may feel helpless at times. But your patience, kindness and understanding make such a difference.”

You can read the full article at this link: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/10/how-to-support-a-depressed-partner-while-maintaining-your-own-mental-health?CMP=fb_gu

In the News: Have men been let down over mental health?

“He was the life and soul of the party, but inside he was battling serious demons. He was a 25-year-old man who looked to have everything going for him, but he couldn’t vocalise his problems.” That is how Rowland Bennett describes his best friend Charlie Berry, who took his own life a year ago.

Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 49 in the UK, and men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women. According to campaigners, most men thinking about suicide never talk to anyone about the problems that have brought them to crisis point.

After his friend’s death, Bennett, a booker and promoter in the music industry, became involved with the male suicide awareness charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), organising its 10th anniversary fundraiser night in London. “Since I’ve been involved, I’ve heard more and more people say ‘I lost a friend’ or ‘My mate, the party guy, killed himself’ – everyone has got those stories,” he says. “Men don’t want to be that guy talking about depression. They want to be the character people think they are.”

Male suicide research by the charity Samaritans suggests men often compare themselves against a “gold standard” of masculinity which is often incredibly difficult to live up to. The charity has highlighted the issue for middle-aged men, who have the highest rate of suicide of any age group. Research manager Elizabeth Scowcroft says that is probably down to a combination of factors, including relationship breakdown and financial pressures. “We need to think about ways we can engage with those who are most at risk, targeting the right people, encouraging them to seek help,” she says. “It’s about talking to people earlier rather than once they are at crisis point and feel they want to take their own lives.”

Calm’s chief executive, Jane Powell, says rather than focusing on particular risk groups, society needs to see suicide as an “every man” issue. “What’s frustrating is there is an overwhelming sexism when it comes to looking at this. At what point are we going to look at why more men – regardless of age – take their own lives than women?”

Click the following link to read the full article: https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2016/may/18/men-suicide-mental-health?CMP=share_btn_tw

In the News: Facebook and Twitter ‘harm young people’s mental health’

Four of the five most popular forms of social media harm young people’s mental health, with Instagram the most damaging, according to research by two health organisations.

Instagram has the most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing, a survey of almost 1,500 14- to 24-year-olds found, and the health groups accused it of deepening young people’s feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

The survey, published on Friday, concluded that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are also harmful. Among the five only YouTube was judged to have a positive impact.

The four platforms have a negative effect because they can exacerbate children’s and young people’s body image worries, and worsen bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the participants said.

 

To read the full article, please click the following link:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/19/popular-social-media-sites-harm-young-peoples-mental-health

In the News: Life for students ‘fraught with loneliness and anxiety’

Summer holidays revealed as one of the loneliest times of years for young people.

The summer holidays are meant to be one of the most eagerly-anticipated times in a young person’s life but, worryingly, it’s actually emerging as one of the loneliest periods for many.

New research has revealed more than half of teenagers feel isolated during their time off from school, with a quarter saying the holidays are their loneliest time of the entire year, rising to 29 per cent among girls.

While changes in technology have made staying in touch with friends easier than ever, an over-reliance on smartphones and social media apps can actually lead teenagers to feeling more isolated as they substitute quality time with friends for texting or tweeting.

The study, compiled by the National Citizen Service (NCS), showed almost two thirds of teens will talk to their friends every day on social media, yet only 14 per cent will see them face-to-face. For some, NCS said this isolation is even greater with one in twenty teenagers not expecting to see a single friend during their time off.

To read the full article, please click this link: http://www.independent.co.uk/student/student-life/health/mental-health-in-young-people-summer-holidays-one-of-the-loneliest-times-of-year-for-students-a7136351.html

Rather than feel isolated or lonely come and join us for our ‘Drop- in’ Sessions which are friendly and welcoming, in a relaxed atmosphere with approachable staff.

  • Adult Drop in, Wednesday 17th August, 4:30pm – 5:30pm for adults (18+ yrs)
  • Young Person Drop in, Thursday 4th August, 11.30am – 12.30pm  (11 – 21 Yrs)

In the news: Self harm- 6,000 people attend emergency departments

More than 6,000 people turned up at emergency departments across Northern Ireland in 2015 having self-harmed. 

The majority were young people, aged between 15 and 24.

Records show that a number of people sought help on more than one occasion with over 8,500 incidents in 12 months.

The statistic is part of the chief medical officer’s annual report which reflects on the health of the population in Northern Ireland.

Dr Michael McBride said when it comes to mental health and in particular, self-harm, there is a need to intervene.

“We need to be aware that people who self-harm repeatedly are at much higher risk of taking their own lives by suicide” he said.

A self-harm registry which operates across all acute hospitals is designed to improve understanding about self-harm and to allow for comparative analysis with the Republic of Ireland and parts of England.

In its latest report, the registry concluded that Northern Ireland continues to have a high rate of self-harm.

While alcohol is a factor, drug overdose was the most common method of self-harm.

In his 9th annual report, Dr Michael McBride, gives a wide-ranging review of the service, including health inequalities, vaccination and screening programmes and dental health.

However, he also emphasises that the quality and advances in health care are not the only determinants of good health.

For the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-36351142

In the News: The Teenagers who poison themselves…

Self poisoning is on the rise amongst young people.

“It’s like my brain has two bits: the happy bit and the bad bit,” says 18-year-old Jasmine. “The bad bit keeps pushing until it takes over. You feel like you’re losing control of yourself a little bit more and a little bit more. And then it happens.” Jasmine is one of thousands of young people who self-poison using substances such as alcohol, painkillers and illegal drugs to self harm.

Research from Nottingham University has found there has been a 27% increase in known UK cases of young people self harming between 1992 and 2012, with 17,862 incidents reported during that 20 year period.

To read the full article please click on the link below: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36322642

Here at Harmless we will work in partnership with any organisation, service or individual who feels the need support in understanding how best to help a young person who self harms. If you work with young people and want to know more about how to support someone who self harms then please get in touch at training@harmless.org.uk

In the News: Children ‘denied mental health support’

A total of 28% of children referred for mental health support in England in 2015 were sent away without help, some after a suicide attempt, a report says.

The Children’s Commissioner’s review of mental health services also found that 13% with life-threatening conditions were not allowed specialist support.

This group included children who had attempted serious self-harm and those with psychosis and anorexia nervosa.

A government spokesman said no-one should be sent away in need.

The commissioner obtained data from 48 of England’s 60 child and adolescent mental health service trusts.

One trust in north-west England said it focused resources on the most severe cases.

‘Russian roulette’

There have been concerns in recent years about the patchy nature of services offered by child and adolescent mental health trusts (CAMHs), with many seemingly unable to cope with local demand.

And school teachers and heads in some areas have highlighted the growing mental health need amongst pupils which are having to be met within schools.

‘Frightened the living daylights out of me’

Ellie Fogden, now 19, sought help when she was 16:

I did not become ill immediately at 16. For a number of years, I felt quite down, so to speak.

It was constant worrying, pressure from school, and my own body image.

I got to a point where I had had enough. I am waking up every day and I am not wanting to be here.

I self-referred to a local counselling service and I was on a waiting list for about three months and then started sessions. The counsellor was very worried and she referred me to CAMHs.

I had to go to the doctor to get a referral and it took about three to four weeks to get a session. I was in there for about three hours and I was just bombarded with so many questions. Some of them I didn’t have the answer for because I didn’t understand what was going on in my head.

I wasn’t taken seriously enough. Some of the questions were dismissed as – it is not that bad, people have it worse. For me, it felt awful. There was no compassion which made it so much worse.

I didn’t go back for another CAMHs appointment. It frightened the living daylights out of me. I finished counselling at this independent service. I wasn’t great but wasn’t as bad.

As I have grown older, it has just gone into a downward spiral where I am currently worse than I was when I was 16, with depression.

For the full story follow the link..

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-36398247