From Harm to Hope Conference Reflection from Val Stevens, Harmless Therapist

Harmless recently celebrated the success of our first national self harm conference, From Harm to Hope. The conference brought together private, public, voluntary and community sector organisations who contributed by sharing their experiences.

We were lucky enough to hear the contributions from leading academics and professionals in the area of self harm and suicide prevention.

Keith Waters was the chair for the day, enlightening us with his expert knowledge, conducting question and answer sessions and ensuring that the day ran smoothly .

Our very own C.E.O, Caroline Harroe, provided a motivating presentation surrounding the importance of the five key themes of the conference. These being driving change, overcoming stigma and discrimination, collaborative partnership, service user representation and effective practice.

Dr Christabel Owens presented a thought provoking account of her understanding in developing interventions that help people to manage their own self harming behaviour and the role that plays in educating health professionals.

Karen Lascelles, a Suicide Prevention Lead Nurse with 23 years experience who specialises in areas of self harm and suicide who gave an interesting and detailed account of her work which aims to advance the understanding of self harm, suicidal behaviour and prevention.

Dr James Roe, a lead researcher on the e-DASH study, and Harriet Ball shared their research into the electronic delivery of problem solving CBT for depression in adolescents and young adults who self harm. This aims to determine the acceptable ways of engaging and retaining adolescents and young adults (aged 16-30) in a remotely delivered problem solving CBT. The research aims to find out whether a remotely delivered problem solving CBT is clinically effective and cost effective in comparison to usual care. They will work with clinicians, commissioners and service uses to carry quantitative analysis in identifying barriers, drivers and success in the delivery of psychological interventions.

I attended a stimulating workshop delivered by Dr Ellen Townsend and Dr Ruth Wadman entitled Risky Business? Involving young people in research on self harm and suicidality. They explained how in the Listen Up research project putting young people at the centre of the project was very important. This was done by engaging with key organisations that young people were involved with, creating a young person advisory group. This enabled them to gain insights into some of the key factors such as psychological factors, environmental factors, relationships and emotional literacy.

Keith Waters who has 25 years of clinical experience in self harm and suicide prevention working as a mental health nurse in A&E explained how his practice influences research drawing on his experience on the NSPA, the multi-centre study for self harm, and EMHSRN, which demonstrated how existing data collected can help inform responses such as helping make policy decisions.

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