Hi, I’m Ian – a Therapist with Harmless. The perspective I’d like to share is the importance of being kind to ourselves during this time. This is a scary situation, and if you’re feeling anxious or down, remember that those are completely normal responses to fearful situations. But also keep in mind that our emotions are influenced by our thoughts – if we’re preparing ourselves for the worst outcomes or dwelling on the things we don’t have, then we’re naturally going to feel more fear or sadness. But if we focus on the fact that every second brings us closer to the end of the lockdown and the virus, and that by isolating we’re potentially saving lives, these thoughts can help us keep calm and focused. Have compassion for yourself, and remember that this won’t last forever.
There are so many times in life, (particularly when we are going through things that are hard to deal with) when we wish the world would just stop and that we could get off for a while. Life has a pace that sometimes makes it difficult to reflect on whether we are where we want to be or whether we are on the road to achieving what we want. This is often because we really don’t give time or energy to self- reflection or self care.
An example of this for me was when I lost my dog Boe in January after he became ill with cancer. Two hours of my day for 15 years had been allocated to dog walking, suddenly when my dog had gone this time was quickly absorbed by other things, ironing, shopping, housework. Not only did I find myself doing no exercise but I also missed the time that I spent just being mindful of where I am and enjoying the day.
When I was asked why I didn’t still walk my answer was I was now busy with other things, but in truth nothing that really pertained to me and only me. I have now started walking again because I realise that this time was not only important to Boe but really important to me and my well being, a time when life slowed up for a while and I could smell the roses. It was my time to just be, in the guise of exercising the dog.
Having had this light bulb moment I have to ask, how hard is it for most of us to just be, and sit with only that. I know that this is really tough especially when we have been through something difficult or traumatic, or if we are suffering with poor mental health, but there really is some value in slowing life down to the point where we have to consider our real priorities and look at where we are in the here and now. My own intention is to find some real value in this time, we will probably never experience life in its simplest form again, at least in my lifetime, so I’m turning on the blues and taking it real slow.
At the moment, our daily activities and routines look very different and this can leave us feeling unsettled and unsure.
If you are struggling at the moment, our suicide crisis pathway is open and offering both face to face and remote support. If you’d like support, get in contact and a member of the team will be in touch to arrange a session with you.
Referral line: 0115 880 0282 – please note, we ask that you leave us a voice message and a member of the team will get back to you within 1 working day
Hi everyone – Rachel from the bereavement team here. I originally wrote a short blog piece for World Book Day at the start of March. But a lot has happened since and it feels all the more relevant now with increasing isolation and all the changes to our daily life. Some people may find ways to navigate the disruption and anxiety between the covers of a book. It may be the opportunity to finally get around to finishing a classic novel or to seek a more light-hearted read for escapism.
I love books and am always reading when I can – a good crime novel or psychological thriller are my usual favourites. Whether to relax, learn, a form of escapism, self-care or a break from our increasing focus on phones and screens it can be a great joy.
New research published by Oxford University Press suggests that reading could be hugely beneficial for our mental health. Whether you are feeling stressed, have lost someone close to you or are dealing with a difficult personal situation, you may find comfort, solace and help in the pages of a book. Some may choose fiction or poetry for escapism, or to seek out their own experiences reflected on the page.
Here are some of the books that helped me after my own bereavement by suicide and other personal losses. There can be something comforting and cathartic about well chosen words and language. In addition reading recovery narratives can increase connectedness, validate our own experiences and help to reduce stigma.
Studies have also indicated that reading works of fiction can increase reader empathy, reduce stress and strengthen your brain as well as prevent memory loss. Enough reasons then to pick up a book regularly – as well as providing enjoyment it may be helping your body and mind too.
As a classed key worker working in this time, I’m finding it really hard to switch off sometimes when I go home from the office.
I worry for my clients that are isolating and hoping that they’re okay without face to face sessions for the time being. Then I get a little stressed that I’m not sleeping when I should be because I’m too busy worrying about things I know I’ve done my best in handling.
And then something occurred to me the other night during one of those stressing moments…
…I’m probably not alone in this feeling, in fact I think a lot if not all my colleagues will be feeling the same.
Change is stressful, especially change that was unexpected and out of our control. But we’re all doing our best and I’m extremely lucky to be a part of a team that cares so much. When I first started my role I was told that our CEO Caroline looks closely at personality in the people she hires, and it really shows! I work with some of the most caring, big hearted, supportive and creative people. They’re always there to give you advice, reassurance, laughter and a helping hand. It’s a difficult time but I’ve watched how changes have been made to work within government guidelines and how everyone has adapted to the new ways and pushed to go above and beyond. From providing a great service, to blogging and vlogging. They’re all doing a great job!
So I wanted to write this blog to let them all know how proud I am to be apart of our teams and how amazing they all are, so if they are stressing they know they’re appreciated and that they’re doing a great job.
Hi! I’m Laura, and this week I joined the Harmless team as a Suicide Crisis Support Officer for the Tomorrow Project. I’m so excited and grateful to be a part of such a fantastic team, and I’ve been welcomed so wonderfully by everybody.
I first heard of Harmless in 2014, when I actually used the service as a client. I stopped using the service in 2015, and in January 2020 I returned to Harmless as a voluntary intern, for which I have been writing an essay about trauma. I have really enjoyed writing about such an important subject, and I’m still continuing to write it from home. As of Tuesday this week, I officially joined the suicide crisis team as a support officer. This week has been a whirl of learning lots of new things, getting to know my colleagues, and being extremely grateful for how my life has turned 180 degrees from 2014 to now. I hope that my summarised story serves as a hopeful reminder to anyone who needs it, that recovery really can happen.
I have come to Harmless after working as a support worker in a low-secure forensic mental health hospital. The hospital specialised in supporting people with personality disorders. Before this, I studied Psychology in Education at the University of York, and spent a lot of time volunteering for Nightline, a listening service for students. These experiences have strengthened my already-existing passion for supporting anyone and everyone with their mental health, and I’m sure that working at Harmless will strengthen that passion that even further.
I have recently joined the team as a new Support Officer for Harmless.
I have a background as a support worker specialising in working with survivors of domestic abuse.
It’s an unusual time to start a new role but what has been clear from my first day is that keeping the service available for people in need during these unsettling times has been the priority for all staff. I’d also like to say thank you to the team as they helped me settle in and answered my many questions!
I believe that being open and talking about how you are feeling can be hugely beneficial to anyone struggling with their mental health, however I also believe we live in a society that does not make it easy for people to do so. Breaking boundaries and challenging stereotypes is a start to helping people and letting others know they are not alone.
I joined Harmless because I really admire the work they do and the beliefs of the organisation. I like the saying ‘be who you needed when you were younger’ and feel proud to work for an organisation supporting people in need and challenging the stigma around self harm and suicide.
I am looking forward to working for Harmless and offering practical and emotional support to people in need.”