Memory jar donations appeal

Last week my colleague Katie and I met with 2 very special people. Meet Holly and Max. Max is 5 years old and loves trains, Holly is 8, she is shy, kind and always holds the door open you to pass through.

On this day we made memory jars. Holy and Max were so proud when they finished and excited to take the jars home.

We need your help to make more moments like these possible for all our clients.

If you have empty jam jars, some table salt or coloured chalk, please send it to our service, and support us bringing more happy smiles into our client’s lives.

 

To make 1 memory jar we need:

Empty jar (with lid)
Table salt
Coloured chalk
Paper
Cotton balls
String

Ana
Bereavement Support Officer

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 info@harmless.org.uk.

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: https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/pupils-are-so-distressed-they-think-only-way-out-death

 

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: http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/more-5000-derbyshire-children-referred-806965

Mental Health First Aid Youth (MHFAYouth)

 31st August & 1st September £120 per delegate 
Certificate and resources for each delegate upon completion
Please note: Attendance on both days of the workshop is mandatory

Youth MHFA is a course aimed at people who come into contact with young people aged 8 to 18. The 2 day workshop will be delivered by a fully trained certified MHFA Trainer.

Course Aims:

  • Preserve life
  • Prevent deterioration of any injury or illness
  • Promote healing and recovery
  • Provide comfort to the ill or injured.

What are the main benefits of Youth MHFA for me?

Youth MHFA will give you the skills to be able to support young people with mental conditions in crisis. While you will be unable to diagnose mental health conditions, Youth MHFA teaches you how to recognise symptoms of mental ill health, how to support someone in a crisis using an effective model enabling a young person to access appropriate professional help. You will also learn that recovery is likely and indeed possible.

Why is Youth MHFA beneficial to my organisation?

This is not just a training course to take and forget. Independent research shows that up to 88% of people use the first aid skills they learn during the course at least once.

  • Your direct actions will help young people to recover faster from mental and emotional health problems – and some of you will even help to prevent suicides.
  • Suicide is the second most common cause of death for those aged 15 – 24
  • Youth MHFA has been designed and proved to equip you with the right skills to help others  
  • Youth MHFA teaches you how to approach those difficult conversations or situations
  • Provides helpful tips to improve your own mental wellbeing
  • Having conversation about mental health helps to break down the barriers of stigma, discrimination and social inequalities
Venue: 
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Community Centre,
90 Brooklyn Rd,
Nottingham
NG6 9ES
 
To book on or for more information email: training@harmless.org.uk or call 0115 934 8446 

Stop saying yes when you want to say no

We’ve all been there…that moment when you’re asked to do something you don’t want to do or even have the time to do….you want to say no….but before you know it, the word ‘yes’ has already come out your mouth.

Don’t worry, you really aren’t alone in that. We’ve been thinking about why we find it so important to please everyone, to the point where we feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Pleasing others can be self-serving. But I wonder if the benefits to saying yes are outweighed by the negative impact on our mental health.

By agreeing to do things that you don’t want to could mean that you are a people pleaser, which is not a bad trait, but can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. People pleasers think about other people’s needs, worry about what other people want or think before they think about their own needs, or what they want. 

Learning to say “no” is is about setting boundaries. Every time you say “yes” to someone, you say “no” to yourself and your priorities and needs. It is far worse to say “yes” then to feel your anxiety building up. Forget about pleasing people. It is more important to please yourself so that you can stay calm and relaxed.

Practice saying “no”. Say it aloud so you can hear the words in your own voice. Say phrases with “no” in them, such as, “No, I can’t do that.”

Never say yes on the spot. Instead say “I’ll get back to you” after you’ve checked if you actually can do it. Or how about “Let me think about it and ill speak to you tomorrow”.

You do not need to say “yes” just because you are capable of doing something. You should say “yes” only if you considered your time availability, other commitments and what you may need to give up to complete the job.

Put your self-care above anything else by spending your time on things that make you happy and on decisions that you want, rather than on what others want. If you don’t set boundaries to what or whom you will say no to, your health is at stake. If you neglect yourself, you will not be able to help your family or those that care about you.

You don’t even need to apologies for saying no.

Remember that your self-worth does not depend on how much you do for other people.

I would like to introduce James Park to you…

He is writing a book which look at the factors causing young people to self harm, the unhelpful ways in which services sometimes respond to their distress, and the routes people find back to feeling on top of things. 

He has written books before, ran for 20 years an organisation that helped schools promote young people’s mental health and emotional well-being, and is a qualified (but currently non-practising) psychotherapist.

He is happy to talk by phone, over skype, face-to-face… or in any other way that works for you. He will treat whatever you tell him as confidential and, if he does use elements of your story in the book, will ensure you cannot be identified.

You can get in touch with James by email (jamesrobertpark@icloud.com), by phone (0771 201 3172) or via Adrienne Grove at Harmless on 01158348445 or email adrienne@harmless.org.uk 

Please take a little time to read his email below and help him to get the correct messages across. If you have any questions please give me or James a call. This is our chance to be heard..

Adults not listening: will you tell me your story?

Ask a young person who sometimes self-harms, or thinks of killing themselves, what it is they most crave from the adults around them, and the chances are they’ll say it’s the opportunity to be really listened to. They may add that really listening is something their parents, teachers and others seem to find it really, really hard to do.

All too often, what adults call listening is actually telling: getting in first with a response to what they think a young person is wanting to say: trying to reassure them that they are loved, have the potential to do well in school, will get better in time. They challenge rather than absorb, try to map a shortcut to health rather than being attentive to the thoughts struggling to be expressed.

The effect on the young person is all too often to plunge them back into the despair they thought they were starting to claw their way out of. Asking to be listened to can be an act of considerable courage. It’s about starting to create a small space in which you can feel in control of your own life, evolving a language to express the strange feelings that toss you around: listening to your true self instead of the angry, reproachful voices in your head. Being talked back to just confirms what you feared all along: that you are powerless and undeserving.

In looking for an explanation of why so many young people today are experiencing such high levels of emotional distress, I suspect the answer is to be found in the fact that adults are finding it harder to listen. There are too many anxieties knocking around in their heads: particularly about whether there’s going to be work available for their child, a decent income to be earned: all of which is seen to be dependent on whether a child will get those grades they are going to need. And that’s before a child has started cutting themselves or opening top-floor windows with the thought that they might jump into oblivion.

Another way adults deal with their anxieties is handing the responsibility for listening to their child on to someone else. But while a therapist or counsellor may provide welcome respite, may foster the courage to go back and ask again… and again … for the right to be heard, they cannot replace having a parent who listens quietly … over many hours and days … to what it is their child is trying to make sense of.

And when an adult thinks they have been listening, and has done the caring thing by finding a professional to help, the next time they hear the child telling them they have not been heard, they may inadvertently, in a few unfortunate seconds, express exasperation or frustration, sparking a further downward spiral as the young person turns away, towards some other strategy for managing their despair.

I am writing a book about how we, as a society, can break these cycles of failed communication. To do that I want to hear your stories: whether of asking to be listened to from people who could not respond, or of finding a listener who helped you to health; of trying to listen but failing, or of finding a way to do so. Please get in touch via email (jamesrobertpark@icloud.com) or phone (0771 201 3172). I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,

James

Young people’s mental health care is ‘inadequate’ according to specialist nurses

According to a survey of 631 workers in children and adolescent services, 43% said things were getting worse.  The poll was carried out by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) for the Guardian newspaper.

Mental health care nurses say they’re worried that the rationing of access to care and shortage of beds are so bad that young people risk harming, or even killing themselves. 

Stacey, which isn’t her real name, is a nurse who works on an acute ward for people with severe and enduring mental illness stated, “Mental health staff should get more training and that more specialist units are needed, especially outside bigger towns and cities.”

For more information click the following link:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/37551837/young-peoples-mental-health-care-is-inadequate-according-to-specialist-nurses  

In the News: The Teenagers who poison themselves…

Self poisoning is on the rise amongst young people.

“It’s like my brain has two bits: the happy bit and the bad bit,” says 18-year-old Jasmine. “The bad bit keeps pushing until it takes over. You feel like you’re losing control of yourself a little bit more and a little bit more. And then it happens.” Jasmine is one of thousands of young people who self-poison using substances such as alcohol, painkillers and illegal drugs to self harm.

Research from Nottingham University has found there has been a 27% increase in known UK cases of young people self harming between 1992 and 2012, with 17,862 incidents reported during that 20 year period.

To read the full article please click on the link below: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36322642

Here at Harmless we will work in partnership with any organisation, service or individual who feels the need support in understanding how best to help a young person who self harms. If you work with young people and want to know more about how to support someone who self harms then please get in touch at training@harmless.org.uk

In the News: Austerity causing mental health issues for young people.

A quarter of young people referred to mental health service in England including some who had attempted suicide received on help according to a review carried out by the children’s commissioner.

The commissioner obtained data from 48 of England’s 60 child and adolescent mental health service trusts, discovering that 28% of referrals were denied specialist treatment on the grounds that their illness was not serious enough.

Even those with the most serious illnesses who secure treatment faced lengthy delays waiting 110 days.

The post of mental health champion for schools was axed this last month because she warned that austerity was causing mental health issues for young people. Young people explained that the reasons for their anxiety were things like poverty, the prospect of being unemployed, student debt, academic and exam pressures.

To read the full article, please click on the following link:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/may/28/nhs-turning-away-children-referred-for-mental-health-help