Walk and Talk – 17 mile challenge for Harmless

Recently we have been supported by Nottingham College who are running a fundraiser for our suicide prevention service: The Tomorrow Project.

“During mental health awareness week the Wellbeing Team at Nottingham College, along with students and other staff will be running a sponsored ‘walk and talk’. The walk and talk will be between all nine college campuses. The 17 mile walk will raise money for The Tomorrow Project and Harmless.”

Fundraising link: https://localgiving.org/fundraising/nottmcollmhwalkntalk/

We are so pleased to have support from the wonderful staff and students at Nottingham College and are looking forward to more updates.

Good luck!!!

Good luck Aaron and Beckie!

We are truly honoured to be supported by Aaron and Beckie who are fundraising for our life saving service: The Tomorrow Project. Their blog post is below.

“Aaron and I have decided to don the lycra and take part in Cycle Live Nottingham in June, cycling 25 miles around Nottinghamshire to raise money for The Tomorrow Project and Harmless. Most of our friends and family know that we aren’t sporty people so this is a big challenge for us!”

“The Tomorrow Project and Harmless are two charities very close to our hearts as they’ve support both Aaron and I during Aaron’s battle with depression, I wouldn’t know where we would be without them.”

Harmless is an organisation that combines personal and professional experience to support people who self harm, their friends and families, and professionals. They believe in recovery, and through their work they want to promote health and well being. So many people who self harm feel overwhelmed by their emotions, and this is something they want to work hard to change. Harmless was set up by people who understand self harm and at the heart of their service is a real sense of hope.

Your donations really do make a difference to people’s lives, Aaron and I are both examples of that.

£25 can provide one therapy session
£45 can provide an information session drop in
£80 can provide a talk at a school”

Link to fundraiser: https://localgiving.org/fundraising/aaronandbeckiecyclelive/

We are so pleased to see the difference we have made to their lives and feel humbled they have decided to support us in return. GOOD LUCK and an enormous thank you.

Crisis pathways testimony

“Amazing attitude towards helping! Great at providing opportunities and suggestions for the future. Relatable and actually has some experience what you’re discussing. Warm, friendly and open to talk about anything. Easy to relax with and able to open up to. Just a text away”

This is a testimony from someone who has been supported through our Suicide Crisis Support Service.

The Tomorrow Project crisis pathway is a primary care pathway and is able to support people that are having thoughts of suicide.

We provide emotional support – this can be a cup of tea (or coffee!) and a sit down to speak about how you are feeling and we offer practical support, this can be support with things such as housing and debt. But most of all, we offer hope.

Hope for a better future. Hope that things can improve.

If you, or any one you know may need support – please drop us an email at crisis@tomorrowproject.org.uk or call us on 0115 880 0282. Please note, we ask that you leave a message and a support officer will get in touch with you within 1 working day

Merry Christmas from Harmless and The Tomorrow Project

On behalf of the Harmless and Tomorrow Project team, we hope you all have a safe and happy Christmas.

As we said yesterday, Christmas isn’t an easy time for everyone. While some of us are celebrating with our families, others are suffering, often in silence. People can feel isolated at this time of year, alone, or because this time of year is a time of reflection, can feel mournful and sad. It’s important to notice people around you and how they’re feeling. Often it’s not the grand gestures that can make a difference to how someone is feeling but the simple things- a phone call or text, a hug and a chat.

If you need immediate support over the next couple of weeks, please call Hope Line on 0800 068 41 41 or the Samaritans on 116 123.

Harmless is a service thriving in the field of self harm and suicide prevention work…

Harmless is a service thriving in the field of self harm and suicide prevention work. We talk often and openly about our provision of services, the events that we are attending- our academic work and research. Perhaps we should also find more time to talk about the bread and butter of our work and what it is that truly makes our work effective. This means talking about heart and soul and above all, hope. Yes, we are ‘innovating’ interventions; yes, we are evidencing our work- but the question really should be ‘what helps people to stay alive?’.

People turn to harming themselves or contemplating death over the ‘big’ things in their life. We often take these ‘big’ things to mean big events or traumas, but more essentially, these are big emotional experiences- feelings of devastation- loss, sadness, shame, fear…. No matter what their origin.

Harmless is a service that truly understands and relates to self harm and suicide. It embraces staff who have lived experiences of these issues – perhaps we don’t write about this enough. So it’s important, that, despite the clear academic rationale for our work, we embed these experiences in our work- that we always prioritise the human touch in the services that we provide.

So… What is it that helps people to stay alive and to overcome both suicide and self harm? It can be the little things. Or an accumulation of little things. It can be an act of kindness that can tip the balance in the favour of life, or a positive experience that can reduce the amount of harm someone causes themselves. It can be a thousand tiny experiences that encourage a sense of hope, or belongingness. These might not ‘fix’ the problems that someone is facing but it can be enough to help someone to keep fighting.

What years of research does tell us is that isolation and hopelessness are really crucial in people self harming, and going on to become suicidal… But we knew that anyway, right?

If each of us offer the small things, just think what a difference we could be making to someone in pain. And that’s what Harmless does. That’s why we make a difference- not just because we offer an intervention, but that we offer it at a time of need, with compassion and sincerity- that we care enough to do it and to be there when we are needed and that we are real people with real stories, doing that work.

There is always hope for people in distress. Every life touched is the potential for a life saved. So we will keep on doing what we do, and learning from it. We will keep talking to the people we help and let them, each and every one, tell us what helps them.

And we will keep believing, until people can believe for themselves again, that their life is worth living and there is hope… And that no matter how bad things feel, they can be helped.

22nd of September, 2002.

The doctor and her driver just dropped me outside A & E. I am crying, shaking and I feel very much alone. I drop my keys and fumble for them on the ground whilst balancing my heavy rucksack on my shoulder. I’m clutching to my letter – the letter that the GP had just handed me and told me to take to the hospital.

When I report to the reception desk, they are expecting me. I am told to wait with the other unfortunate souls that find themselves here at this time of night. The waiting area is full, as people hold their heads and arms in pain. I have nothing to clutch, except my heart that feels as though it is bleeding out all the pain in my body. Instead I wrap my arms around my bag and weep into it quietly.

I know people look at me. I withdraw inside myself and try to become smaller, so no one can see me. I am invisible in my mind; as is my pain.

A friendly looking nurse calls my name and I stop being invisible. I stand and follow her to another waiting area. Here, the patients sit in rows, all facing me. I am told to take a seat but I cannot move. The only available seat is right at the back and a sea of faces to go with it. Five behind five behind five pairs of staring eyes. My heart is now pounding; racing. My legs shuffle and I prepare to run. Instead, I turn to the nurse terrified and burst into tears. Everyone is staring at me, but I cannot stop. I put my hands to my face to try and hide my distress, but I cannot hide. It’s too big to hide anymore.

The nurse kindly guides me to a cubicle and draws the curtain and I am left alone. I cry.

They tell me that the doctor won’t be long; time both stands still and races past me. I am lost to it. I don’t belong in this world. I don’t breathe the same air as other people. I don’t think the same way. There is no place for me.

Eventually the doctor arrives with nurses and they look at my wounds which are all throbbing and sore now. They poke around and pinch the cuts together, and then tell me that I need to be stitched. I am terrified. I describe to them the situation I find myself in and I tell of the blackness, the panic, the fear.

I seem to have reduced myself to a grain of sand, sitting right in the middle of my head. My vision becomes tunnelled and dark, the sounds are muffled and distant as I try so hard to protect myself from the moment I find myself in. I KNOW that I am answering their questions, but it doesn’t feel like me – it is the me that I call upon when I cannot cope. The me that gives a voice to the voiceless.

I can hear myself telling them that I don’t know how else to cope, but they don’t understand. They must think that I am wasting their time and I feel so ashamed. I am desperate for someone to hear me, just to hear how it is that I am feeling. I can feel it mounting up inside of me and then it gets unbearable so I take it out on myself. It is only then in that brief moment that all the emotion gets washed away. But then, afterwards, I am left with this; with scars and pain, humiliation and shame.

I sit here whilst they sew my legs back together like a patchwork quilt. I look at what I have done to myself and I promise myself, like every other time, I will never do this again – that this time I will find a new way of coping. I don’t know how, but I will.

But it will happen again, wont it? Because it always does. It hurts so badly, and I try to wish it all away, but I know that I must deserve this.

Later:

I’m listening to the weather forecast on the radio: highs of 18°c, the weather outside is dull, damp and miserable. The weather inside is worse.

Let me describe the room; a square, 12’ square. The walls are a smoke-tinged yellow, like the walls of a neglected public house. There are five high-backed PVC chairs that look as if they have been slashed and cut into. The foam spills out of their gouges. There is a fan, twisting and turning its gnarled head in protest, forcing the heavy smoke from one side of the room to the other.

I could lose myself in here for good, amidst the floral curtains and the pasty walls, the echoed footsteps and voices in hallways. Nothing matters in here; not the way I look, or the way I dress, or whether I wash my hair. This is not me. I should not be here.

Someone sings out from the radio: “oh baby, come on… I need you to show me how to start living my life…”

Maybe I am hearing words being called to me from outside these walls. I need someone to show me how to start living my life. I need someone to teach me how to cope, right from the start. I am a child again. I am as I was as a child: without guidance. This is my way of coping, this is my way and this is my best.

This is not good enough.

22nd September, 2009.

This was written at the depth of a despairing time, when the only thing that seemed to surround me was a world that didn’t understand my struggle. I was the girl that hurt herself so badly that the doctors just hadn’t the patience to keep ‘fixing me’, nor the care for why it was happening. I was the girl that spent hours crying quietly to herself, wishing someone would notice and help. I didn’t need much, but what I really needed was a touch of human compassion.

Instead I was the girl that mental health services labelled as ‘attention-seeking’, the girl that they said couldn’t be helped and the girl that they wrote off as an ‘expected suicide’. Today I am a therapist. After years of suffering, when human compassion was eventually offered to me I turned the corner.

Years on I now spend every day working to help others the way that they helped me; people who face similar experiences of distress and despair to get the help, the compassion and the support that was lacking in my own struggles. I am precisely the reason why Harmless needs to exist, why we have to listen to the voiceless and believe beyond everything, that people can triumph over their pain. Having hope is such a difficult thing when the world seems bleak, so I, and Harmless, hope you (after reading this) can above all else, remain hopeful for change. Distress is subjective, and whatever has driven someone to self harm, whether it is a bad day at work or abuse, it matters. Give people the chance to define their selves and to describe their struggles in their own words. Give people the space where it is ok to just be.

Self harm and despair can be overcome. If we work hard enough, if we help hard enough – recovery happens.

If you would like to read more stories of recovery, or learn more about self harm and suicide why not buy our book, by clicking here.

Harmless are here for you

Christmas is just around the corner and for many of us, ‘tis the season to be merry. This isn’t the case for everyone. Aside from the cold and dark months of winter having a physical effect on our bodies and brains, this time of the year can be difficult for people for a variety of reasons. If you celebrate Christmas there are the obvious financial and gift pressures, which can be incredibly real, for some of us more than others. It’s also naturally a time for reflection, as the year draws to a close and we think about what the year has brought for us, and those around us. Perhaps we’re not as close to our families as we’d like, maybe we don’t have the same kind of family relationships as others. We can compare our situations to “idyllic” ones and can feel guilty, sad, isolated, or worse. Maybe we’ve lost people in our lives or have had a particularly challenging year. Christmas is about love, giving, celebrating with those closest to us. This isn’t always easy.

 

Here at Harmless, we know that life can be hard. Mental ill health and suicidal thought don’t magically disappear just because Santa is on his way. This being said, many of us can prepare, emotionally, for what we might know will be a hard time of the year. What can be even more difficult than Christmas is the New Year. January and February can be really tough. Our Christmas spirit has been put away for another 12 months, and we are all faced with another fresh year. Suicide rates are higher just after Christmas than they are during the festive period – people can feel blue, particularly as the winter just keeps on going.

 

Please know that Harmless are here for you. Our clinical team are experts in supporting people through periods of distress. No matter who is in your life, please remember that we are here and we truly care.

 

We want to continue to support everyone who comes to our service, and if you want to help us, you can vote for us in the Cheer For Good campaign. This will give us the chance to win a grant of £2000, which would help us continue to save lives. To vote, please create a Twitter or Facebook post with the following: #CheerForGood and @HarmlessUK.

 

Seasons greetings from us all xx

Harmless and The Tomorrow Project Christmas Closure

The Harmless and Tomorrow Project team are taking some well-deserved time off over Christmas as we prepare for what will be a busy 2018!

Services will close on Friday 15th December and reopen Tuesday 2nd January.

The team would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us over this past year – your kindest and generosity has literally helped us save lives. We are confident that next year will bring many more achievements as we continue to have significant and positive influence in the field of self harm, suicide and mental health.

2018 will see us hold our third national self harm conference ‘From Harm to Hope’ on March 1st (Self Harm Awareness Day) and many more exciting things to come.

On behalf of the team, we wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

If you need immediate support over the next couple of weeks, please call Hope Line on 0800 068 41 41 or the Samaritans on 116 123.