‘This is hard to read’

Anyone who thinks that grief after suicide is anything like a bereavement of other sorts, is wrong!

It might have things in common. Huge loss and longing. Funerals. Crippling grief. But it also brings with it complexities that only traumatic loss ever brings. That’s not to say bereavement of any kind is easier or harder, just different and  it is vital to acknowledge those differences.

With suicide, the person chose to die. They didn’t die because their bodies gave out, or because of a tragic accident. They chose to depart. And usually those left in their world struggle to understand how this loved human being, chose death over their life with us.

Whether the next day they would have still made that choice is left to be seen. 

Whether if they’d had support in that moment, it would have been different, we will never know.

What they needed in order to stay, we cannot put right.

What they were thinking in those moments are just guesses. 

Suicide leaves unanswered questions and that is one of the hardest parts of bereavement by suicide. The only person that could answer those questions is gone. 

We can’t tell them we love them, or would have helped them through. 

We can’t tell them we’d have found a way if they had come to us.

We can’t hold them until it is better.

We can’t give them the hope that we had for them, they’re gone.

Instead we hold onto it for a while, hoping this is going to stop… disappear… not be true… that they’ll come back.

And we don’t know why they did it. Not really. 

If things had been different, what the outcome would have been. We don’t know where the blame for their death lies. We question what we could have done differently or how we contributed to their last decision. We search for answers; resolve.

Life is a complicated mess of experiences, where experiences mesh with experiences to lead us down this path of life. The choices that we make, the choices that others make around us, somehow lead some of us to these all-too-often fatal outcomes. 

Usually, there is not one experience that contributes to the reason someone takes their life; not a moment in time that drives them there but these complicated internal experiences in relation to every moment spent on earth that accumulate towards this fatal decision.

Yet, guilt is held in so many of the families, friends and colleagues that we see. The ‘what ifs’; the blame; the remorse; the guilt; the shame; the why? 

Followed by anger. Agony. Disbelief.

It varies. It changes. 

The one thing that’s so consistent about suicide is that it as an avoidable tragedy that is hard to ever reconcile. It destroys lives. It is different for every single person that faces it, and people often struggle to share their thoughts about suicide. 

So let’s start to do that today- not wait until our family and friends are effected… because they will be. I see people fundraising for cancer research in the realisation that many of us will now experience a cancer diagnosis or bereavement in our lifetime; many of us already have. I commend these endeavours because not only are we raising money to battle cancer, we are talking about it- sharing our worries, our fears, our losses and that’s healthy and united.

Suicide is the one other certainty I can depressingly endorse- suicide is the biggest killer in the UK- the second biggest killer of our young people- the largest cause of death to our men. 

We will know it in our world at some point, even if we’ve escaped it thus far. We will face it in our families, our friends, ourselves… we will contemplate death or support someone who is desperate or console ourselves after a death. Suicide isn’t uncommon. 

Let’s talk now. Please.

It might just save a life. 

If you want to know more about what we’re up to and the work we do or how to get involved, have a look at our website www.harmless.org.uk, or contact us at info@harmless.org.uk. 

John Lewis & Waitrose supporting Harmless

Community Matters, May – August 

The team at Harmless work tirelessly each day to support the local and wider community who are struggling with their mental and emotional wellbeing, self harm and those at risk of suicide. The work we do is critical and ultimately it saves lives. At Harmless we know mental health doesn’t discriminate, so neither do we.

We are very excited to have been selected by John Lewis and Waitrose to be part of the Community Matters scheme. The scheme running for four months, has £3000 to share between three organisations, and the pot of money is divided by the amount of tokens placed in each organisations pot.

We are a non profit organisation and rely on the support on the community to keep our life saving services afloat. Help us save lives by popping into John Lewis/Waitrose and putting a green token in the pot! Every single coin will make a difference and you really will be helping us save lives.

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

Self-Care Sundays

The day of rest, the day of roasts.

This Sunday, why not take some time to look after yourself?

Have brunch with a friend. Take the dog for a walk. Take your family to the park. Bake a cake and eat the whole thing (if you don’t cut it… it counts as one piece). Do some gardening. Treat yourself to a new outfit.

Self care is so important. We often don’t take the time out we deserve. We put our needs aside and focus on someone else’s.

Why don’t you simply devote this Sunday to loving yourself more?

We would love to hear about your self care!

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: admin@harmless.org.uk

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE

Barbecue & Blues Band Extravaganza @ The Cross Keys in Burton Joyce – 28th May 2017 from 12pm

Everyone is welcome to come and chill at a Barbecue & Blues Band extravaganza, featuring “Webbo and the Soft Boys” at The Cross Keys, Burton Joyce on Sunday 28th May from 12 noon.

There will be a fabulous menu be you a Carnivore or Herbivore, details to follow.

This is in Support of the Henry Chowdhury fund, setup to highlight the need for improved mental health services for young people locally. All profits from this bash will go to Harmless, providing self harm and suicide prevention support to those in need, their friends, families and professionals.

Get your tickets to our 10th Anniversary Celebration Event on 7th October 2017!

 

Join us on Saturday 7th October to celebrate 10 years of Harmless!

Thank you to those who have already purchased their tickets to the event!

To mark the 10th anniversary of Harmless and a successful 5th year of the Tomorrow Project, we’ll be holding our annual celebration event on Saturday 7th October 2017 at Ruddington Grange Golf Club.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR TICKETS 

The Venue:

Ruddington Grange Golf Club, Wilford Road, Ruddington, NG11 6NB

 

The Date:

Saturday 7th October 2017

 

The Time(s):

6:30pm arrival for a 7:00pm start

 

The Cost:

£40.00 per head

 

The Event:

Three course meal with raffle, silent auction, games and live music from the Monroe Acoustic Duo and the Monroe Band featuring Polly Yates.

 

Click here to watch a video of the Monroe Band

 

Dress Code:

Smart

 

The purpose:

To raise enough money to save more lives.

 

If you would like more information on the event, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0115 934 8445 or you can send an email to admin@harmless.org.uk

An enormous thank you to the Lush Nottingham team

Thank you to the NOTTS Lush team for their wonderful workshop that kick started our Mental Health Awareness Week of events. The event was full and the feedback sung their praises.

To coincide with this years Mental Health Foundation’s theme of ‘surviving to thriving’ we decided to carefully construct a week of events focussing on #SelfCare. With creativity during the event perfect to nurture our emotional wellbeing, and then with being able to take the bath products home made the work shop perfect for #SelfCare.

The group made strawberry swirl bath products and were treated to hand and arm massages, a very relaxing day!!

“Kneading the ‘dough’ for the Lush product was super therapeutic and I also enjoyed swirling the pink and white dough together to make the classic cone shape for the Comforter Bubble Bar – taking it home was a bonus as it has filled my house and car with its wonderful aroma! Many thanks to Lush and the Harmless team”

Here are some photos of the event:

Thank you again to the lovely team and we hope to work with you again in the future.

Reach out to a friend

At Harmless we are asking everyone to reach out to a friend this #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, because it really is the small things that make the biggest difference. Imagine what we could achieve if we all came together? Join us in raising awareness and challenging stigma and discrimination.

http://www.harmless.org.uk/store/index.php…

#HarmToHope #Harmless

 

Happy Monday!

The dreaded Monday. The weekend feels like a distant memory. It’s time to wake up early, strong coffee in hand… ready to help us face the day ahead.

Today… we have LUSH coming in to support Mental Health Awareness Week with a workshop to make wonderful, natural bath products. I use a LUSH bath as a self-care activity. It is so important we take time out for ourselves – to hid from the world in a LUSH filled bath.

LUSH believe in long candlelit baths, sharing showers, massage, filling the world with perfume and in the right to make mistakes, lose everything and start again.

I read somewhere that statistics show Mondays will not be so bad after all, there will be over 5,000 weddings, 10,000 child births and 42 million hugs today. There will also be 600 dogs adopted, 35,000 balloons sold, plus the words ‘I love you’ will be said over 9 million times. You may think Monday is going to be awful, but according to statistics… Monday is going to be a really nice day.

Katie
Suicide crisis project worker
The Tomorrow Project