Harmless director reflects on returning to her old school to support current students with self harm, suicide and emotional wellbeing

‘In the past month I have had the tremendous privilege of returning to my old secondary school in a professional capacity, in order to support them and their students with self harm, suicide and emotional wellbeing.

It is a long time since I went to school and how times have changed! When I
attended school, I was a conundrum to staff. A high achiever, I always
performed well, so they found it difficult to relate to the emotional
baggage that accompanied me and especially, the self harm that came too.
Now, as a qualified therapist and the Manager of Harmless I have the ability
and opportunity to work with schools to assist in educating them on these
issues in order to help them to help their young people better.

Unlike 15-20 years ago, my old school is now taking assertive measures to
protect their young people against their emotional trials and invited
Harmless in to deliver a range of sessions to students about emotional
wellbeing and self harm. I also spent some time with several students who
were struggling and need additional support. This is always a very moving
part of my job; I get to hear such painful stories of young people who feel
that they haven’t got any help and it is my job to help find some solution
to that. Most of all, it is my job to ensure that young people are able to
see a future and have hope beyond where they find themselves now. This is
not always easy – but I always try to let them know that struggle and self
harm is not forever, with the right help.

Having the opportunity to work at my secondary school when so many years
have passed has been an unusual experience on a personal level, but on a
professional one, has been a great opportunity. Congratulations should be
made to this school and others that take the same approach – of wanting to
help their young people; to reach out to them and teach them skills that
will help them through in spite of their own apprehensions an fears.

I look forwards to many more years of work of this nature, where, in the
context of often great suffering, we are always able to reach people and
make changes and move away from self harm and suicide.

Caroline Harroe, Director.’

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