Today we received three beautiful #lovelock scarves

Pattern designer Clare, from Sister Mountain, developed a knitting pattern to sell to raise money for us after losing her friend to suicide.

The scarf will mark her friend’s life and we hope that by celebrating her life we can offer hope to others who are struggling.

All of the proceeds from pattern sales of the Lovelock scarf will be donated to Harmless. We were chosen by the bereaved family as we are an organisation where all proceeds go directly towards saving lives, so that no one else faces such a tragic loss.

The lovelock scarf is both tragic and hopeful, and a simple way that we can pass on the love and warmth of an item of clothing to people feeling lost and alone and desperate whilst raising hope, awareness end funds for our vital work. – blog post on the knitting pattern

“I like to think of the Lovelock scarf as a hug to someone who needs it: a physical act of wrapping yourself or someone you care about in love. By purchasing this scarf pattern, not only will you be able to knit something comforting and beautiful for yourself (knitting is most definitely self-care, don’t you agree?) but you will also be helping Harmless to provide comfort to those who desperately need it”.

The Tomorrow Project Catch up Cafe

Our sessions are friendly and welcoming. We create a relaxed atmosphere with approachable staff that provides important information explaining how our service can support you, your friends and family or a colleague.

Dates :

Thursday 8th February 2018 – 2.30-3.30pm

Thursday 8th March 2018 – 2.30 – 3.30pm


To speak to our friendly team:

Phone: 0115 880 0280


The catch up café is aimed at those aged 18 and above. You will be welcomed by our friendly staff.

All catch up café sessions will take place at:

Unit 1

Lighting House

3-5 Station Road

East Leake



LE12 6LQ

See you at the catch up café!

People with mental illnesses refused access to insurance cover

Insurers have been accused of depriving access to life insurance and other kinds of cover to people with depression and anxiety, even for physical conditions unrelated to their mental health.

People who have suffered even mild mental health conditions or one-off episodes say they have been refused life insurance altogether, aggravating their financial insecurity.

Dozens of complainants have been in touch with the Guardian about the alleged discrimination. Charities and campaigners described the findings as “extremely worrying” and showed that insurers were operating based on an outdated understanding of mental illness.

In some cases, insurers appear to base their refusal on long-distant episodes of depression or anxiety, or when customers admit to having had suicidal thoughts or self-harming noted on their medical records. These customers are then allegedly deemed unsuitable to insure even for circumstances where death is not linked to a mental condition.

One refused applicant was a victim of the 7 July 2005 London bombings who experienced post-traumatic stress disorder. She described being turned down as “upsetting” and “worrying”, saying it showed ignorance about mental illness.

“I can see it from the perspective of the insurance company; they are not going to want to provide cover for mental health related issues to someone who has had mental health problems. But I was surprised to be rejected for any coverage at all, particularly given my otherwise good health,” she added.

Others say they were penalised after attending one or two grief counselling sessions following a family death, leading to rocketing premiums.

Charities warned that gaps in the law mean customers have little protection against this form of prejudice.

“The difficulty is that the only protection available is to people who are disabled under the Equality Act and even then there are certain exemptions for insurance business,” said Michael Henson-Webb, head of legal at mental health charity Mind.

“The current definition of disability under that Act doesn’t cover everyone with a mental health problem and makes it difficult for individuals with mental health problems and their legal advisers to clearly determine their rights.”.

Laura Peters, advice manager at Rethink Mental Illness, said: “What is judged as ‘high risk’ seems to be based on an increasingly outdated understanding of mental illness. This viewpoint is resulting in people … being disproportionately penalised for their condition with eye-watering premiums or flat out rejection. Life and health insurance can be a vital safety net.”

“It feels to me wholly inappropriate and discriminatory. This is something that the government needs to investigate as a matter of urgency. We need to get a fundamental review of these policies,” he said.

The Guardian heard from dozens of people about the matter. Many of them were rejected for life insurance but others had problems getting health or travel insurance. They said the reason for their refusal had not been made clear but many said the only probable cause was their mental health record.

Many believed they were turned down because of having suicidal thoughts or self-harming noted in their medical records, but others said they were told to apply again at a later date due to having had a recent diagnosis.

The suspicion is that insurers are cherry-picking customers to minimise risk and boost the bottom line.

Henson-Webb said: “Some insurers are operating with a total lack of transparency. That so many people seem none the wiser as to why they have been declined insurance means they aren’t being given information about how decisions have been made.

“It looks as though some insurers are making crude assessments such as the ‘three strikes’ rule, which could amount to discrimination.”

One insurance broker, who asked to be anonymous, said: “Some insurers target different markets and like ‘clean lives’. It sounds awful but they are hard-nosed businesses.”

He added: “My wife looked to apply for new cover recently and she had gone to her GP about work-related stress and the insurer automatically increase the premium. How many people go through work related stress? I thought that was ludicrous.”

Another respondent, 27-year-old Cara Lisette from Hampshire, said that she had been denied cover but at the same time her partner who had an eye condition had been accepted with exceptions put in place. “This seems unfair, that he can get cover that excludes his condition but I cannot get the same,” she said.

A lot of those who responded said that discrimination had made them wary of getting further treatment.

Insurers say applications for life insurance go through careful assessment and are evidence based. They say that when dealing with customer’s with mental health problems they ask questions such as how long it has lasted and how it has been treated. They also ask about any time off work or suicide attempts. Insurers acknowledge that in a small number of cases, mental health backgrounds may result in a premium loading or exclusion, or in the most severe cases, a refusal to offer cover.

A spokesman for Royal London said: “Most mental health conditions are mild or self-limiting, and as a result we are able to offer standard rates to more than 90% of customers who inform us of their condition.”

An Aviva spokesperson said: “We take our responsibility to comply with the Equality Act 2010 very seriously. The Act includes special rules that permit insurers to assess customers individually and to offer acceptance terms at the standard rate, at an increased premium or to refuse to offer cover based upon each individual applicant’s risk.

“We do not refuse to offer cover or offer cover on different terms to people with a disability, unless there is statistical evidence the condition presents a higher risk than for someone who does not have a history of the condition.”

Link to full blog:


From Harm to Hope: Introducing the Speakers

Naomi Watkins


One of the UK’s leading Domestic Abuse consultants, as featured by BBC and commissioned by Lincolnshire County Council, Bristol City Council and University of Lincoln.

Naomi has worked in the field of Emotional Wellbeing, Healthy Relationships and Domestic Abuse for 10 years. She is a CAADA trained IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor) working with high risk cases, at risk of homicide. She has chaired MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences) and worked closely with the CPS (Crown Prosecution Services). She has been trained in Emotional Wellbeing by the NSPCC and ChildLine and worked with them for 8 years.

She has worked with young people from the ages of 0-25years and adults in varying capacities. She has been a nursery worker, deputy manager in a nursery, project worker, support worker, housing officer, drug and alcohol worker, counsellor, domestic abuse worker, ChildLine counsellor and supervisor. She has strong expertise in working with young people and adults, she has had specialist training in Emotional Wellbeing and Healthy Relationships from the NSPCC.

She is a qualified counsellor and has worked with those affected by domestic abuse, low emotional wellbeing, stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, low self-esteem and confidence.

Having delivered various training to volunteers, staff members, professionals, children and young people, she has become a highly experienced trainer. She has written workshops for all levels and delivered to small and large groups alike.


From Harm to Hope Conference

We are pleased to announce that Harmless’ third national self harm conference will be held on Thursday 1st March 2018, Self Harm Awareness Day. This year’s theme is ‘self harm: suicide prevention starts here’.

As in previous years, the conference will be shaped around the following five strategic areas:

Collaborative partnership
Service user representation
Effective practice
Driving change
Overcoming stigma and discrimination

Our conference gathers together leading academics and experts in the fields of self harm and suicide.

Form Harm to Hope: Introducing the Speakers

Alex Parkin


Alex has 4 years’ experience working previously in nurseries and schools within Lincoln, having developed a passion for working with children with Special Educational Needs, Alex knew this is where she wanted to work. Alex has worked in children’s and adult’s residential settings for two years, providing daily support to them in a home from home setting.

Alex recently returned to education and completed her BSc Hons Degree in Health and Social care at Lincoln University, during her time at Lincoln University Alex started volunteering for local organisations within the care sector. Where she met Naomi Watkins, Alex worked alongside Naomi for over a year teaching Domestic Abuse workshops to young people and teachers. As well as providing nurture groups for young children within schools.

Alex found her passion working with children and young people, whilst supporting them with various topics. Alex began by providing one to one support work with young people, since then Alex has developed a passion to run support groups for young people in Domestic Abuse relationships and for Young Parents.

Since graduating in May 2017, Alex became the Co-founder of NWCH CIC alongside Naomi, a new and unique counselling hub in Lincoln, set up to support and help people within the local community following Alex’s passion.

Alex is also a mum to young children and loves spending time with them visiting new places. Alex can be found reading books and taking long mindful walks with her dog in the local park.


From Harm to Hope: Introducing the Speakers

Sarah Kessling


After achieving a BA (Hons) degree in Primary Teaching, Sarah began her career teaching at the Royal National Institute for the Blind. This role sparked an interest in pastoral support and led to her completing an MSc in Psychological Well-being. Consequently Sarah implemented this further education within her role as Student Development Officer at a Secondary School in Buckinghamshire. Both her interest in teaching and passion for mental health has led to Sarah delivering in the role of Training Team Leader at Harmless.

Sarah’s role continues to provide many opportunities to become involved in planning, facilitating and evaluation across the broad range of Harmless’ training programmes. 


Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree…

We would love to re-home all the Christmas Trees in our Forest of hope to people in need or distress. If anyone would like a Christmas tree please send us an email at to reserve the tree and you can collect Friday 15 December.


We want to do all we can to bring as much joy and hope to anyone in need. If you’d like a tree from our forest of hope, please let us know.

Ways to contact: or 0115 880 0280

From Harm to Hope: Introducing the Speakers

Pam Burrows


Pam Burrows has been speaking professionally for over 25 years in the public sector, third sector and in the commercial world. Previously delivering business skills workshops globally to blue chip companies, for the last 17 years she has focused closer to home on the value of boosting the confidence, energy and positivity of people.

In 2015 Pam won a European OSHA award with Nottingham City Homes for reducing stress in the workplace and also became a Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association.

Pam is a qualified Nursery Nurse, Social Worker and Master Practitioner in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). She appears regularly on TV and BBC Radio and has produced 2 short films on social issues.

She is taking far too long to write a book and to fill the gap has recently produced an Android and iOS app with free confidence boosting resources. Pam wears a tutu when the mood takes her, gives up sugar and takes it up again on a regular basis and quite likes hugging trees when no-one’s looking.

From Harm to Hope Conference

We are pleased to announce that Harmless’ third national self harm conference will be held on Thursday 1st March 2018, Self Harm Awareness Day. This year’s theme is ‘self harm: suicide prevention starts here’.

As in previous years, the conference will be shaped around the following five strategic areas:

Collaborative partnership
Service user representation
Effective practice
Driving change
Overcoming stigma and discrimination

Our conference gathers together leading academics and experts in the fields of self harm and suicide.


In the Press: ‘Pupils are so distressed that they think the only way out is death’

Teenagers are attempting suicide because they can’t cope with the stress, and that is partly down to the fact that education has become a conveyor belt of expectations, warns one parent

My 18-year-old daughter has just texted me to say that one of her friends has tried to kill herself and my daughter is on her way to the hospital to see her. Earlier this year, another one of her friends killed himself, despite embarking on what was to have been a happy and exciting gap year.

And at the weekend, my son went to visit his friend who had tried to kill herself and is still in a psychiatric hospital, where I hope she is receiving the help she needs. Her sudden absence at school was unexplained and he had been trying to get in touch with her for weeks. Once he found out what had happened, he immediately made arrangements to see her and spend time with her. She is 16.

One family, two children, three friends who reached crisis.

And our family cannot be the exception. I just hope it is not the norm. The pressure on children is immense. The endless testing, the feeling that if you fail your GCSEs your life is over, that if you fail your A levels you are useless, that if you get anything less than a 2:1 you might as well not have bothered going to university. All ratchet up the pressure to achieve, the guilt, the feeling that you should always be working. No wonder teenagers drink themselves to oblivion or take drugs, seeking to escape by other means.

It starts at nursery, the constant comparisons, the measuring of achievement, the target setting. And all fun is sucked out of learning by the time you are 7, very aware of the stress of Sats and the pressure on your teacher. Children pick up signals from their role models. They know the stakes. And then through the rest of primary school, to Year 6, where the school’s reputation is on the line, to GCSEs, on which your future life is said to be riding, and on to A levels, where you are berated for not working hard enough almost as a constant for the two-year duration. The pressure of A-level results day is such that another girl at a nearby school killed herself on the day – before even opening the envelope. And, of course, her achievements were stellar.

Young people in crisis
Urgent action is needed nationwide for change. Change in how we assess children, change in the support available to them, and change in how easy that support is to access. Schools do their best, but recent reports have said that children are waiting up to 18 months to be seen by the NHS for mental health problems. This is too long. A year and a half can be an eternity to a young person who is struggling. And it is an absurdity to a young person in crisis. It should not be a surprise that desperate acts are becoming more common. The key to stopping any destructive behaviour, be it self-harm or self-criticism, is action – and action is what we need now. Young Minds has outlined what the government should include in its forthcoming Green Paper on children’s mental health. The government must listen to the good sense talked by an organisation that works at the front line of children in crisis. And that is the key. These are children. Children who are so distressed that they think the only way out is death.

We must help our teenagers develop resilience, a skin thick enough for them to survive living in the eye of social media, and optimism about their future. In Brexit Britain, where many teenagers feel betrayed, optimism is hard to come by, but social media can serve many purposes, including one of support and camaraderie. I have not met a friend of my children’s who did not look out for their fellow teens and who was not there when needed. Behind every teenage selfie is someone capable of compassion and good sense.

This is not the snowflake generation. This is a generation of children who have had to learn to live in the critical eye of the social network, with the constant comparisons, with the pressure always to be on point. The commodification of education has created a conveyor belt of expectations, and they believe that if you do not meet those then forget it, your life has no value. Play up, play the game, or game over.

Our children are worth more than this and we should value them for what they can bring to the world. The distress some of them live with cannot be ignored – we must acknowledge it and act now to give them the future they deserve.

Karl Ingram is a pseudonym. He is a parent of teenage children in London

Link to the original blog:



As part of the #CheerForGood campaign partnership between Neighbourly and Starbucks, supporting local community organisations. There are 120 charities across the UK competing for 2K. The top 30 charities who #Cheer the loudest will win a grant of 2K!!!

For a small charitable organisation (only 16 of us!) this is a HUGE amount of money. For an idea how huge… £25 is the cost of one therapeutic session that could save someone’s life.

To help us win please like, share, post, re tweet, Tweet and comment! Any social media activity on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and  Neighbourly will increase our cheer score!

The more people supporting us the more lives are saved. So if you believe in saving lives please cheer for us!

#CheerForGood #HarmlessUK #Nottingham