Being Ourselves

We are all unique, different and special, in Children’s Mental Health week 5 – 11 February 2018 we are encouraged to celebrate our uniqueness. Some children and young people may find it difficult to think positively about themselves. We can encourage them to celebrate their unique qualities and strengths.

By encouraging children to develop a positive view of themselves we can help them overcome many difficulties. We can encourage them to feel more connected to the people in their lives which can help children and young people to cope with life’s challenges.

We all need a bit of help sometimes; it can be difficult to know who you can ask for help:

  • Family member,
  • A trusted friend,
  • Harmless and Tomorrow Project
  • A professional

It is best to decide who you can talk to, I understand you may not like asking for help, you may feel that you don’t want to burden other people, you might even worry about how they might respond to you, it is important to remember people who care about you will want to help you.

It is important to show respect and kindness to everyone around us, even if they are different because we all have different skills, abilities and interests.

Why not contact us for support and information by emailing

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:


Did you know that today is an important day in the history of the tomorrow project?

A sad, tragic but important day…

Six years ago today, quite early in the morning I heard of a death in my local community. I read what I saw on social media, and like the rest of my community felt a deep sense of sadness and shock. A guy who was known to many had taken his life. I had seen him recently. He had served me in my local shop. We chatted superficially. He was not my friend, but a well recognised familiar face who I would say hello to when we passed simply because of the purchase of milk or such like.

This date is a date I remember, because without realising it at the time, it was a day that would months later give way to further tragedy and ultimately lead to the birth of the Tomorrow Project.

In the November of that year I had further witnessed some of the fall out in my own community. I had seen the pain and confusion amongst people I know and in a community that I love; I had seen arguments about suicide, I had seen pain and I had seen support.

In the same year I also found myself compelled to act because what was also clear was that other than in—community, in—family, in-friendship support there was nothing to support those affected by this loss – the very specific loss of suicide.

Unfortunately for this community, it wasn’t our only loss and as such, I found myself trying to rally the support of local statutory services, to receive consistently and without hesitation rejection: ‘we have no plan for events like this’; ‘we don’t have a strategy to help’; ‘this isn’t our responsibility’.

I was angry, sad, confused. I felt those things for myself and for every person touched by these losses. I won’t tell their story – it isn’t mine to tell… but what I can say is that what happened thereafter is what has led to the county wide delivery of a suicide crisis and bereavement service, one that has the eyes of the UK on it as a model of best practice. I and my colleagues would NOT accept that nothing could be done to support families and communities or that suicides couldn’t be prevented.

What I have learned since that time is that this field is a vital, complicated and painful field to work in but within six years we have managed to achieve national acclaim for a project that started in the hearts and minds of a local community on this tragic day, six years ago. I hope that in some way this brings comfort to thee family simply by knowing that we will keep fighting for this to not be another family’s story.

The Tomorrow Project was named by mothers who had lost their sons. It is theirs. It belongs to everyone who is touched by suicide.

The project is interested in bringing about local, regional and national change in the field of suicide prevention. We now offer direct access, swift suicide crisis support to anyone who needs it. With two dedicated buildings – one in the very village where the Tomorrow Project came from, and a dedicated team who will be there for those who need it.

We have built with the police and the Nottinghamshire coroner, a referral system that makes it easy for the police (via their IT systems) to automatically refer families and communities affected by suicide directly to our dedicated bereavement team, where now THEY WILL get the help that they need.

Today is an important day because we remember those who have lost their struggle to despair and we dedicate the future of our work to their suffering and to the losses of families who have faced pain beyond measure.

One day, we hope beyond hope, that the Tomorrow Project will no longer be needed, but for now, know that we will keep fighting for survival to help those that need it the most and create change in a word that needs it.


Caroline Harroe, CEO

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

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:


Would you like to work for Harmless as part of our clinical team?

We are currently recruiting for a Specialist Therapist to join the Harmless team. The deadline for applications is Monday 27th November 2017 at 12pm, with interviews to take place in the week commencing 4th December 2017.

To download the job description, please click here.

To download an application form, please click here.

JOB TITLE: Specialist Therapist

HOURS: Up to 37.5 hours per week

SALARY: £23,250 per annum

START DATE: 8th January 2018

This position has been funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Harmless are pleased to offer an exciting opportunity to join our passionate team and help us save lives.  We are looking for a dynamic individual, who is willing to develop their skills; work outside the box and challenge themselves in order to do whatever is required to help people attain recovery.

This role is particularly well suited to a therapist early in their career looking for a long term opportunity to develop as a specialist therapist.

Application Deadline: 27th November 2017 at 12pm.

Interviews will be held in Nottingham w/c 4th December 2017.

Please send your completed application form by the deadline to

If you have any questions regarding the role or the application process, please contact us by calling 0115 880 0280 or email

Focus on you: a blog from orlaghslittlecorner

I feel like we all must do it. Compare ourselves to others I mean. Looking at their achievements and how far they’ve come, how appealing their life looks and all the things they have got and have done. But you gotta stop that. Seriously.  

Comparison is the thief of joy. 

It truly is! Whilst you’re comparing you life to someone’s else’s you will always feel lame. There may always be someone who seems to have more than you, but don’t forget that actually your life to someone else will look amazing compared to theirs. It’s a constant battle of people comparing themselves to each other. And it’s got to stop. 

Everyone’s path has been/is different in life. Some people have been through a hell of a lot, family issues, personal issues, health issues -you name it! But I’m pretty positive in the fact that every person you could ask would have some story, some bad times in their life, so you can’t let yours be a comparison.

Celebrate people’s joy and how far they have come and be happy for them without comparing yourself!

You will never be able to see how far you have come whilst you are doing that whole ‘compare yourself to others’ thing. Take time to stop and look and realise all the amazing things you have done. How much you have achieved. Compare yourself to yourself. Look at how much you have done, how far you have traveled, how much experience you have gained in a year or 3 years, 5 or 10!

By comparing yourself to yourself you can also set some realistic goals based on where you are in life (and not by where society says you should be!). You know what goals you have to set to make a dream become a plan and whatever time frame that is that fits you, that is the perfect amount.

Throw into the mix some self-care, some you-time, some breaks from life and you will hopefully have a better look on things! ✌🏼

Link to the blog and for more wonderful blogs written by



In the News today: The NSPCC is calling on the Government to shift the focus of children and young people’s mental health services towards early intervention

More than 5,000 children in Derbyshire have been referred to specialist NHS mental health services in the last two years, the NSPCC has revealed.

The NSPCC obtained new figures via a Freedom of Information request to NHS Trusts in England which found the equivalent of 150 children a day from across the country were rejected for treatment between 2015 and 2017.

In Derbyshire, a total of 2,673 cases were referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) between 2015 and 2016. Of those, 497 were not accepted for treatment.

Between 2016 and 2017, 2,358 cases in Derbyshire were referred to CAMHS and 376 of these were not accepted for treatment.

However, the information obtained by the NSPCC revealed that all of the cases in Derbyshire which were rejected by CAMHS were referred to other services.

The NSPCC is calling on the Government to shift the focus of children and young people’s mental health services towards early intervention, to ensure that young people’s mental health does not have to reach crisis point before they are able to get help.

On average, children in Derbyshire are waiting around six weeks, or 32 days, to see a specialist after their referral being accepted.

The findings follow news last month that the NSPCC’s Childline delivered a record number of counselling sessions to children reporting suicidal feelings in 2016/17. Mental and emotional health is now the most common reason for a child to contact Childline, with the service carrying out 63,622 counselling sessions in 2016/17.

NSPCC chief executive, said: “It is desperately sad to see so many young people facing distress around mental health issues being forced to wait months for assessment by CAMHS, many of whom are then rejected for treatment altogether. This risks leaving them in limbo while their condition potentially reaches crisis point.

“We recognise the hard work of mental health professionals in trying to help young people get their lives back on track. However, too many children who need help are struggling access support and treatment which can help them to recover. The Government’s upcoming Green Paper on mental health must urgently evaluate the early support systems available to young people to ensure that no child is left to suffer in silence.”

Link to full article here:

A big thank you to Children In Need from Harmless for funding our young people self harm and suicide prevention support services.

Tonight (Friday 17th November 2017) sees the return of BBC Children in Need’s appeal show – an annual event which looks to raise money that will be used to make a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged children across the UK.

Harmless received £109,489, over 3 years, from Children In Need in 2015 to provide therapeutic support to children and young people at risk of self harm or suicide. Through counselling and support, we use the money to reduce incidents of self harm, providing coping strategies and improved psychological wellbeing.

Here is a short testimony written by a young person who has received support services funded by CIN:

”When I went to Harmless, at first it was to keep everyone else happy. My parents were worried about me and life felt as though it was falling apart. Then I realised it was for me. The people at Harmless wanted to help me find my way and figure out what I needed. They didn’t tell me what to do or what I should be like. They helped me figure out what to do different. 

When I first went, I had stopped seeing friends. I didn’t care about much. I just felt rubbish all the time and I was dreading the future and didn’t see the point. 

Now it’s different and I feel so glad that I went and was pushed to go.

I felt hopeless before but now I am looking forwards. I didn’t see my friends and felt as though everyone hated me but now I am happy with the friendship group that I have and I am starting to plan a future where I can help other people. Hopefully one day I can work for somewhere like Harmless.”

On behalf the Harmless team, I would like to thank Children in Need and their wonderful team for the continued support that they have given to Harmless and the children and young people that access our support service(s). We wish everyone all the best and hope that they have another record breaking evening.

Darren Fox
Business and Operations Manager

To view an animation created by BBC Children in Need and Harmless, please click Bronwyn’s Story.

Watch Appeal Show 2017 on BBC One from 7:30pm on Friday 17th November

You can donate to Children in Need by clicking here

To learn more about our self harm support services, please contact Harmless by emailing