Send a card, Save a life!

Harmless’ Christmas Cards are now on sale!

Help support vital self harm and suicide prevention services by sending a festive card this holiday season!

Premium quality cards come in packs of 8 with 2 designs and self seal envelopes.

£4 per pack

All the money raised will go directly towards supporting the ongoing work of Harmless and The Tomorrow Project and saving lives.

Buy yours in our online store: www.harmless.org.uk/store/Christmas-cards 

Pamper and shopping evening on Monday

It’s your last few days to get tickets to our pamper and shopping evening being held at The Three Horse Shoes in East Leake on Monday evening. 

A bit of pre-Christmas shopping, a bit of time to yourself and a glass of prosecco on arrival, all while raising money for us… what more could you want?

Tickets are only £5.

Give us a shout if you want to join us!

In the news: The counsellors on the frontline of the student mental health crisis

I am walking through Nottingham’s Arboretum park on a bright cold afternoon with 10 other people, all of us in complete silence. At first I find the whole thing so awkward I have to suppress an embarrassed laugh. But as we make our wordless way through the dappled shade, I feel an atmosphere of calm and thoughtfulness envelop us like a protective cloak.

The others in my group are undergraduate students, chaplains and other staff of Nottingham Trent University (NTU), all taking part in a mindfulness walk, intended to bring some space and quiet reflection into students’ hectic lives. Guided by the chaplains (who speak occasionally), we pause as a group to consider questions in the booklets we have been handed: “who am I?”, “where am I going in my life?” and “what brings me a sense of excitement?” Left to our silence, we note down our answers. Stopping by a rubbish bin, we ask, “What rubbish am I carrying with me in my life?” We tear off our answers and throw them in the bin. It sounds silly, but weeks later I still feel lighter for casting off that scribble on a scrap of paper.

Back in the bustling City Campus of NTU, students and staff weave their way around each other, a mass of hoodies and headscarves, skullcaps and backwards caps, hipster beards and hi-tops. Posters advertise a programme of free yoga, craft classes and eating-disorder information sessions: my visit coincides with Wellbeing Week, designed to raise awareness of mental health and encourage students who need help to seek it. This is just one part of NTU’s strategy to meet a dramatic rise in the need for support.

Last month, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) published a reportrevealing that nationally, the number of first-year students who disclose a mental health problem has risen fivefold in the past decade. A record number of students with mental health problems dropped out of university in 2015, the latest year for which figures are available. In the same year, 134 students killed themselves, the highest number on record. Similarly, the number of UK students seeking counselling has rocketed by 50% in the past five years, to more than 37,000, according to figures obtained by the Guardian. This trend is reflected at NTU: wellbeing services received 38% more referrals last year than in 2014/15.

There are many reasons mental health problems may arise at university. It is a time of transition: people are no longer living in the family home, but not yet fully independent either. Added to this, some might experience the big fish – small pond effect, where teenagers who are used to being recognised for their achievements find themselves in a more competitive yet more anonymous environment. Difficulties that have been repressed throughout school can bubble up when students leave their support network behind. As Glenn Baptiste, a mental health adviser at NTU says, “Sometimes it might look like it’s a problem that’s occurred within university, but that’s not always the case. If students come here with ongoing issues that they’ve not discussed, the university environment can make life difficult.”

Student Services manager Alison Bromberg says the most common mental health problems reported by NTU students are anxiety and depression. Bromberg can see how the challenges young people face today play their part in this rise – the burden of student debt, economic uncertainty, global political upheaval, apocalyptic climate change – “but,” she says, “I also think that a lot of work has happened and is still happening to reduce the stigma around discussing mental health and emotional needs. I think it’s making it more possible for people to come forward and ask for that support.”, global political upheaval, economic uncertainty, student debt

 

Rosie Tressler, CEO of student mental health charity Student Minds, tells me, “The 2016 Student Academic Experience Survey provided strong evidence that [undergraduates] have lower levels of wellbeing than the rest of the population, with roughly one-third reporting psychological distress, and we know that the median age of higher education students overlaps the peak age of onset for mental health difficulties.” In other words, evidence suggests many people with mental health disorders first experience symptoms between the ages of 18 and 25.

 

When I asked students around the country about their experiences of mental health, they talked about stressful deadlines, difficulties forming new relationships, balancing a job with studies, financial worries and social pressures. They also painted a picture of patchy provision: while some received prompt and effective help, others described underfunded services, excruciatingly long waiting times and dismissive attitudes. One student talked about desperately trying to get a counselling appointment when booking opened at 9am, only to find that all the slots had gone when she got through at 9.03am. A final-year student at another university wrote that she is experiencing increasing anxiety and can’t get help: “A good counsellor I saw in my first year has left, and they are not recruiting any more, so there are lots of students chasing very few appointments. They refer you on or offer leaflets. It seems very inadequate.”

Alex, 21, was a student at a Midlands university when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety and severe depression. She says services are able to deal only with the most seriously distressed students: “Because of the strain on the service, if you weren’t suicidal at the current time, you weren’t helped. You had to be five minutes from death or you had to wait weeks. You had to be at your worst.”

The counselling she was eventually offered was helpful, but she felt the eight-week wait was too long and the six weeks it lasted too short. For long-term therapy on the NHS, she was told she needed to wait a year, by which time she would have graduated and moved home. “So it’s kind of pointless,” she says. For others, such as George Watkins, 21, who is at Cardiff and has had anxiety and depression for eight years, the experience has been more positive: “It is since coming to university that I have made the most progress. I came off the crippling medication, came through suicidal patches and have now come more or less out the other side.” After having a breakdown around the time of his GCSEs, Watkins didn’t leave his house for six months, and then didn’t leave his small town in Dorset for three years.

At NTU, Alison Bromberg still thinks there is cause to feel optimistic about the future. “I do. I actually do. It feels as if we’re embracing a much more holistic framework across the sector.” She cites proposed changes to the university curriculum, such as creating course content for all students on subjects such as coping with change and understanding stress and anxiety. “We’ve got to make sure mental health becomes everybody’s business. That’s the journey we’re on. And I think we’ve come a long way.” 

Click here for link to the full article: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/28/campus-confidential-counsellors-student-mental-health-crisis

 

Suicide prevention training in Nottingham 

This CPD-accredited course will help expand your understanding and awareness of suicide prevention by exploring attitudes and beliefs to suicide, identifying and assessing risk, implementing a safe plan, and recognising effective models of intervention.The course uses a variety of interactive tools to build delegates’ confidence and skills in responding to, and signposting, those at risk as well as their families, friends and professionals.

Level 3 (advanced) training is suitable for professionals who have attended previous introductory training whose role involves supporting those in distress.

Suicide is the leading cause of death in young people in the UK, and for British men under 50. In order to better support individuals in crisis, we are running our advanced level Suicide Awareness and Prevention training. We know that most people who disclose distress will be speaking to non-professionals such as friends and family who may have no formal training. In addition, any professional who works with people can benefit from learning more about assessing risk, safety planning, and responding to individuals in crisis using brief interventions.

Link to this session: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/suicide-prevention-level-3-advanced-training-tickets-37915182331

£110 per place

 

Running out of time to submit a proposal to our conference…

Self Harm Conference: From Harm to Hope – Now inviting submissions for speakers and workshops
Self Harm Conference:

From Harm to Hope
Thursday 1st March 2018

Nottingham Conference Centre
We are holding our third annual national self harm conference and are currently in the process of putting together a strong programme.
We are inviting submissions for session proposals to be considered for inclusion in the afternoon workshop conference programme, and also for speakers during the plenary sections of the conference. Contributions should align with at least one of our 5 themes:
Collaborative Partnership,

Service User Representation,

Effective Practice,

Driving Change,

Overcoming Stigma & Discrimination.

Please see below for details of how to be a part of this day.

We are now inviting submissions for both session proposals to be considered for inclusion in the workshop programme, and for speakers during the plenary sections of the conference (All workshops will be an hour in length and plenary sessions will be 20-30 mins in length).
If you are interested in submitting a proposal for our conference, please register your interest at admin@harmless.org.uk, or by calling us on 0115 880 0280.
Event details:
The overarching theme of this year’s conference is ‘self harm and suicide prevention starts here’. This event will bring together private, public, voluntary and community sector organisations, individuals with lived experience of self harm, professionals and practitioners in self harm prevention.
Guidance for session proposals:
The conference is themed around five key areas; Collaborative partnership, service user representation, effective practice, driving change & overcoming stigma and discrimination. Proposals put forward must relate to at least one of these areas. Subjects for each area are noted but proposals do not need to be limited to these subjects. Sessions can include presentations of services, projects or activities, presentations of academic research or hosted discussions.
Additional Information:
All proposals received will be reviewed by a panel of Harmless members which will agree on the final programme of sessions. As there are only a limited number of slots available, we regret that it may not be possible to accommodate all proposals received.

Session proposals will be assessed against the following criteria

Proposals must:
Demonstrate some evidence-base and where appropriate, show that services, models of working or projects have undergone an evaluation.

Demonstrate good practice,

Set out ways in which other individuals or organisations can potentially adapt or learn from your work or set out how learning from your work can benefit others and their service users,

Demonstrate collaborative working.

Sessions should interactive wherever possible.
If you are interested in submitting a proposal for our conference, please register your interest at admin@harmless.org.uk, or by calling us on 0115 880 0280.

Announcing our first confirmed workshop for our forthcoming conference, From Harm to Hope, on 1st March 2018 at the Nottingham Conference Centre.

Each year World Mental Health day provides an opportunity “for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide”. This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is mental health in the workplace.

In keeping with this year’s theme, our first confirmed workshop will be held by Pam Burrows – People Booster. This workshop will be introducing the concept of an organisational C.A.R.E. model focusing on the sustainability of your organisation by the maintenance of workforce wellbeing. The workshop is ideal for those wanting to focus on their own wellbeing in the workplace and strategies for driving wellbeing across our workforces.

Delivered in her usual engaging, funny and dynamic style, this workshop will offer food for thought, alongside useful strategies for you to take away.

If you would like to book tickets to our conference, or would like more details, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/from-harm-to-hope-self-harm-conference-tickets-38725331509

A word on the national press coverage from Claire, our trainer

I am so proud of working for Harmless. In the wake of the recently-published research from the University of Manchester on the increase of self-harm in young people, especially young women, the last couple of days have brought along interviews galore. I’m so pleased that people are paying attention and taking an interest in self harm awareness and prevention.
If you’re interested, here are links to some of the media work our team have done in the last few days:
Sky News video: http://news.sky.com/video/girls-self-harming-more-due-to-social-media-11087600 
BBC News article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41671060
BBC Radio Nottingham interview (2.07.50 onwards): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05h5rcy
Manchester Evening News article: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/teenage-girls-self-harming-manchester-13782011 
We were also on ITV’s lunchtime news.

National news tomorrow

Keep your eye out for us across the media tomorrow… from morning news onwards we will be speaking about self harm and young people and discussing what we think needs to happen to drive change. 

Tune into Sky news from 6am and ITV news throughout the day.

It’s been a really busy day so far and tomorrow is set to be busy too as we work hard to give our clients a voice and fight for the needs of people that self harm. 

In addition, Caroline our CEO spoke on BBC radio Nottingham today and you can listen back to that interview here: 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05h5rcy

The interview starts at 2:07:50

Let us know what you think! 

National Practice in Mental Health Collaborative… Did someone say more awards?

The past few weeks have been incredibly special for Harmless. 

We’ve celebrated our tenth anniversary, held an amazing celebration event, moved to our very own building and to top things off we have just won three awards.
Presented by the National Practice in Mental Health Collaborative, Harmless won an award for Co-Production of Care Award AND the Recovery Award. Words can’t express how proud we feel as a team; we are beaming with pride!!
In the ten years since Harmless started, the team have supported over 30,000 individuals; the youngest being just 4 years old. As a team we couldn’t be prouder – here’s to another 10 years saving lives.
If you’re as passionate about saving lives as we are why not donate?

Just £25 provides a therapy session for someone by donating here 

          

Harmless CEO in the running for ‘hero’ award!

The Nottingham Post Heroes Awards 2017 in partnership with Boots, celebrates the achievements of truly remarkable people who make our community a better place. Hosted at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in October, it is the biggest awards show of its kind in Nottingham.
Once again this year, the Nottingham Evening Post are on a search for Nottingham’s finest. Covering categories such as Volunteer of the Year, Community Champion, Child of Courage, Armed Forces plus many more. Nominations can be from all walks of life, of all ages, and from all over the region.

They say they are ordinary people, but their acts are truly extraordinary. It may be for a single act of incredible courage, a long-lasting battle against the odds, or for inspirational campaigning.

This year Caroline has been shortlisted in the category of ‘community champion’ and tonight will attend the evening event where she will see if she has won the category. 

Either way, Harmless are proud of the work that we are doing and will continue to do so, to save lives.