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.

 

Fancy a chance at winning some prizes?

Our Specialist Therapist shares some amazing Raffle prizes we have on offer this year…

 Don’t forget to purchase your Raffle tickets from our website

Harmless: Who we are?

Caroline Harroe CEO summing up what Harmless is all about. To learn more about how Harmless can help you or someone you know email: info@harmless.org.uk 

Meet one of our new interns, Hannah

Hello, my name is Hannah and I have recently become part of the team as the admin intern for Harmless.

I carry out a variety of tasks within my role but the main focus right now is the second annual conference From Harm to Hope on 1st March 2017 and to make sure that everything is finished and finalised for the conference. I am also working together with Chloe, the events coordinator intern, to help to plan another event in October which is the celebration event.

I am looking forward to being part of the team and to be able to learn more knowledge surrounding mental health, especially self harm so that I can help and support others who self harm. Also I look forward to gaining valuable experiences during my time here at Harmless.

Meet one of our new interns, Chloe

Hello, I’m Chloe and I’ve recently joined the team at Harmless as the events coordinator Intern.

My role within the organisation at the moment is quite varied and currently I’m assisting with the arrangements for the 2nd annual conference – From Harm to Hope. I am working closely with Hannah who is the Admin intern, and together we are working on plans for the celebration event in October.

I’m looking forward to learning more about the services and training offered at Harmless as well as being part of all the new exciting developments. I hope that through the skills I am learning I will be able to effectively be part of spreading awareness, information and skills on how to support those who Self Harm or have been affected by Suicide.

Reel Life vs Real Life

Hi there, I’m Claire. I joined the Harmless training team in November to support Harmless with their vital work raising awareness of self harm, suicide and mental health. Despite being here such a short time, I’ve already had some very interesting and thought-provoking conversations. One of these inspired this blog post.

I’ve read lots of articles and blogs about how we portray ourselves online, some making me think hard about “reel life” vs “real life”. I read somewhere that our Facebook posts are like our life’s highlight reel. We rarely show off the boring and hard side to life, instead focusing on our best bits. In our ever-growing comparison and celebrity-inspired society, this can make things pretty difficult, especially for children and young people.

I know that for me, I don’t post pictures where I’m makeup free, exhausted, upset, anxious, stressed or depressed. This is a personal choice as it would make me feel incredibly vulnerable. I don’t want to feel more vulnerable than I already do.

Anyone growing up with social media around them is surrounded by images of people at their “best”; a filtered, altered version of reality. Issues around young people’s self-esteem plummeting to an all-time low, and anxiety at an all-time high are very apparent and problematic. Back in my school days, you compared yourself to those around you at school, then went home and got on with life before repeating the same the following day. I’m not sure what I would have done if I’d had social media, smart phones, apps and an image-filled world of eyebrows on fleek, contouring, vloggers and the high life thrown at me 24/7.

The way we compare ourselves to others has changed. The online world is focused more and more on images, pictures, selfies, snapchats. Growing up comparing your “ordinary” life to someone else’s highlight reel can enable an inwards-spiral downwards into incredibly low self-esteem and issues around identity. This can and has resulted in some young people turning to self harm and even suicide.

The late, great Maya Angelou said “if you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”. Maybe we need to apply this to online life. We should take everything we see online with a pinch of salt. Reel life can look fabulous, care-free, exciting and filtered. Real life on the other hand is challenging, draining and sometimes very dull. There is no “edit” option. There’s nothing wrong with this, but for all of the children out there growing up in our online world, we need to remind them that life has ups and downs. We need to build resilience, critical judgement and emotional wellbeing.

Now let me go and take a selfie whilst I’m feeling cheery…

 

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.

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.