Harmless appear in national news

Harmless have appeared in numerous news stories surrounding the sharp rise in recent reported cases of self harm in young girls aged 13-16.

A few of our clients and our CEO, Caroline Harroe, have taken part in various national news stories around this recent statistic.

Yesterday we filmed a piece for Sky News which has featured on the Sky News channel and online at various times throughout today.

You can watch this news story at this link: http://news.sky.com/video/girls-self-harming-more-due-to-social-media-11087600

We have also been filming today for ITV national news which was broadcast on today’s lunchtime news bulletin. This story will also feature on ITV Central News at 6pm this evening. Make sure you tune in!

In the News: Police dealing with record level of phone calls on mental health

Britain’s biggest police force received a phone call relating to mental health every five minutes last year, an escalating level of demand caused by NHS services struggling to cope.

The number of calls handled by the Metropolitan police in which someone was concerned about a person’s mental health hit a record 115,000 in the last year: on average 315 a day, or about 13 an hour.

Volumes have grown by nearly a third since 2011-12, according to data released under freedom of information legislation, and officers fear the demand for help from the public will continue to increase.

One senior police officer told the Guardian a reduction in the ability to cope of NHS mental health services was a key factor in the rise in mental health calls to the police, and it was a national trend.

Insp Michael Brown, mental health coordinator for the College of Policing, said police had become better at recording such calls but this could not account for the big rise.

“We know there is more demand on NHS mental health services and their funding has been cut,” he said.

Commander Richard Smith, head of safeguarding at the Met, said: “Based on current trends, section 136 demand is set to double in London in the next 10 years as it’s increasing by approximately 10% each year.”

Smith added: “The issues we deal with include those with mental ill health who are involved in crime as victims or suspects as well as people who are in crisis in their home or in a public place.”

Nationally, police believe a significant number of those about whom they get calls are already under the care of NHS mental health services, or have been, which is beginning to have an effect on policing.

In West Yorkshire, mental health nurses are being employed in two custody suites to help with people brought in by officers. The force says the mental health incidents it deals with every month have risen to 1,300, up from 850 two years ago.

Brown added that so called “street triage projects” across Britain, where calls are attended by a mental health expert and a police officer, showed that in the majority of cases, police were not needed to resolve the problem.

In Lincolnshire, mental health nurses will now work in the police control room to give clinical advice to police dealing with callers.

The Met figures were obtained by the Labour party under freedom of information legislation. The full figures show that in the 12 months up to 20 July 2017, the Met received 115,000 calls flagged up on its systems as regarding mental health, up 33% on the volume of calls received in 2011-12.

Louise Haigh, the shadow police minister, said: “The dismantling of vital early intervention services forces those with mental health issues on to lengthy waiting lists.

“In desperation or in crisis, they will turn to the police, who are acting as the service of last resort, a role they are wholly unequipped for.

“While facing a savage cut in numbers, the police are increasingly being asked to pick up the pieces of a scandalous lack of mental health provision. Incidents involving mental health are at record highs as police resilience reaches rock bottom.

“The result is genuinely frightening and these figures should act as a wake-up call for the government.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Everyone should be able to access the mental health support they need. We have made major improvements in recent years, including setting up the first ever access and waiting standards for mental health and increasing mental health spending year on year to a record £11.6 billion in 2016/17.

For the full article: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/28/police-phone-calls-mental-health-nhs

In the News: We need to talk about graduate depression

One in four undergraduates experience mental health issues during their studies according to YouGov, but there is little said of the awful feeling post-graduation that leaves students feeling anxious, upset and confused.

This silent problem is taking over the lives of recent graduates, and while conversations around mental health in general have been getting louder, this is an area that is still relatively quiet.

Finishing university is supposed to be a special moment when your life can finally start. Watch out world, here you come, all bright eyed and bushy tailed – but sadly, this isn’t always the case.

After years of being in full-time education, it is now time to start fiercely competing with others in the same situation as you for that much talked about dream job.

Leaving university is a shock to the system.

It’s no longer about making sure you’ve done the extra reading and taking part in seminars, but about being expected to land a job, have a plan and start saving for things like a mortgage.

And when we take a step back and realise that we are leaving a way of life we’ve been in since we were 3-years-old, it is easy to see why graduates are feeling this way.

Education is a well-structured system, and the loss of this leaves many graduates feeling as though they are drifting, often too afraid to commit to one solid career field, fearing that it may be the wrong one.

Those on the hunt for jobs are placed in an impossible situation; they are either under qualified for a role relevant to their studies, or find themselves over qualified for a temporary job to get them by.

Studying for a degree brings its own stresses, and students should not be disheartened or discouraged by anyone who devalues what they are doing; it should be acknowledged that help is within reach if the post-university prospects do not exceed or live up to expectations that students may have for their futures.

In the few months, or weeks in some cases, between exam period to graduation date, and graduation ceremony to ‘real world’, a lot is expected to change in a short period of time, and the transition is not always an easy one. There needs to be more focus from the authorities on the transition from university to employment.

The BACP gives the following advice for anyone who is concerned they are experiencing post-university depression. Primarily, ‘it’s good to talk’, so the first step is to open up to friends, colleagues, family members or a partner. By telling someone how the movement from university to real world is making you feel, often a positive result can be reached.

If this does not help, then you are advised to seek professional help. In a safe, confidential place, anyone suffering from post-university depression can talk with their GP.

Full link to articles: http://metro.co.uk/2017/07/17/why-is-no-one-talking-about-post-graduate-depression-6760769/

http://www.independent.co.uk/student/student-life/health/graduate-blues-why-we-need-to-talk-about-post-university-depression-8729522.html

In the News: How to support a depressed partner while maintaining your own mental health

here is no lightning-bolt moment when you realise you are losing your sense of self; just an absence. When you are caring for someone you love, your wants and needs are supplanted by theirs, because what you want, more than anything, is for them to be well. Looking after a partner with mental health problems – in my case, my husband Rob, who had chronic depression – is complicated.

Like many people, Rob and I were not raised in a society that acknowledged, let alone spoke about, depression. The silence and stigma shaped how he dealt with his illness: indeed, he struggled with the very idea of being ill. He told me fairly early on in our relationship that he had depression, but I had no idea what this entailed – the scale, the scope, the fact that a chronic illness like this can recur every year and linger for months.

I didn’t know what questions to ask. And Rob struggled to articulate how bad it was. He wanted to be “normal” so he expended a lot of energy trying to pretend he was OK when he wasn’t. In 2015, Rob took his life. The reasons are complex, but I believe it was a mix of depression and an addiction to the opiates he used to self-medicate.

Although I am painfully aware of how Rob’s battle ended, I am often asked about how I dealt with it when he was alive. Hindsight is always bittersweet, but I did learn a lot – especially about taking care of my own mental health.

Look after yourself

Feeling that you have to handle everything is natural, but you have to look after yourself or you won’t be any use to your partner. “That pressure to keep it all going can feel too much,” says Dr Monica Cain, counselling psychologist at Nightingale hospital in London. She advises “taking that pressure seriously. It’s something that is very difficult to manage even at the best of times.”

Remember that depression isn’t just a mental illness

It used to drive me mad that Rob wouldn’t get out of bed. It took a while to realise that he “couldn’t” rather than “wouldn’t”. I was so sure he would feel better if he came out for a walk or met his friends, but depression is a physical illness, too. As Dr Cain says: “Physically, depression impacts energy levels. People sometimes feel very tired and want to stay in bed all the time.”

Don’t stop doing the things you love

When your partner can’t get out of bed or come to social engagements with you, there can be anger and frustration. Jayne Hardy, founder of the Blurt Foundation, which helps those affected by depression, says the “feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and unworthiness” depressed people may have mean they often “place loved ones on a pedestal”. She says their skewed perspective means they can “struggle to see what they have to offer you”.

On more than one occasion, Rob said to me: “I feel like I’m ruining your life.” I stopped doing the things I loved and, because I stayed at home with him, it made him feel guilty that I was missing out.

Take charge of admin and finance

People with depression find even mundane tasks, such as opening the post or going to the shops, impossible. Often, they keep their finances hidden, says Dr Cain. “It can feel quite shameful for them to say: ‘I’m finding it difficult to stay on top of it.’” This can be stressful for their partners. As Dr Antonis Kousoulis, a clinician and an assistant director at the Mental Health Foundation, says: “Being the main source of support for a partner with depression can add a lot of pressure.” But it is still better than not knowing what’s happening with your partner’s finances or admin. So, to maintain your own mental health and avoid unnecessary stress, it may be easier to have an agreement with your partner that, when they are ill, you will be in the admin driving seat. And when they feel able, they will sort it out.

Talk to your friends and family

You may fear that friends and family won’t understand. But trying to maintain appearances while supporting your partner is exhausting. “Opening up conversations to friends and families, and getting them involved usually makes a big difference in tackling the stigma and building a circle of support,” says Dr Kousoulis. Hardy adds: “All the advice we would give to someone who is unwell with depression also applies to loved ones who support us: make sure you are supported, reach out for help in understanding more about the illness, keep the channels of communication open; don’t be afraid to ask questions, and prioritise self-care.”

Don’t take it personally

There is the person you fell in love with, who makes you laugh until it hurts – and then there are the bad days, when you are dealing with a stranger who won’t let you in. “Depression can magnify or alter emotions,” says Dr Kousoulis. “A person can have emotional highs and lows in equal degrees, so it is important not to take changes personally.”

This can be easier said than done. I found my own coping mechanisms – therapy, exercise and lowering my expectations of what I needed and wanted from Rob when he was feeling bad. I knew that somewhere inside this person was my husband, so from time to time, I’d leave him postcards telling him how much I loved him. He didn’t react in an effusive way but I know it got through because he kept every one in a memory box.

Above all, hold on to your love. “You won’t always feel as though you are making any progress,” says Hardy. “You, too, may feel helpless at times. But your patience, kindness and understanding make such a difference.”

You can read the full article at this link: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/10/how-to-support-a-depressed-partner-while-maintaining-your-own-mental-health?CMP=fb_gu

In the News: Have men been let down over mental health?

“He was the life and soul of the party, but inside he was battling serious demons. He was a 25-year-old man who looked to have everything going for him, but he couldn’t vocalise his problems.” That is how Rowland Bennett describes his best friend Charlie Berry, who took his own life a year ago.

Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 49 in the UK, and men are three times more likely to take their own lives than women. According to campaigners, most men thinking about suicide never talk to anyone about the problems that have brought them to crisis point.

After his friend’s death, Bennett, a booker and promoter in the music industry, became involved with the male suicide awareness charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), organising its 10th anniversary fundraiser night in London. “Since I’ve been involved, I’ve heard more and more people say ‘I lost a friend’ or ‘My mate, the party guy, killed himself’ – everyone has got those stories,” he says. “Men don’t want to be that guy talking about depression. They want to be the character people think they are.”

Male suicide research by the charity Samaritans suggests men often compare themselves against a “gold standard” of masculinity which is often incredibly difficult to live up to. The charity has highlighted the issue for middle-aged men, who have the highest rate of suicide of any age group. Research manager Elizabeth Scowcroft says that is probably down to a combination of factors, including relationship breakdown and financial pressures. “We need to think about ways we can engage with those who are most at risk, targeting the right people, encouraging them to seek help,” she says. “It’s about talking to people earlier rather than once they are at crisis point and feel they want to take their own lives.”

Calm’s chief executive, Jane Powell, says rather than focusing on particular risk groups, society needs to see suicide as an “every man” issue. “What’s frustrating is there is an overwhelming sexism when it comes to looking at this. At what point are we going to look at why more men – regardless of age – take their own lives than women?”

Click the following link to read the full article: https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2016/may/18/men-suicide-mental-health?CMP=share_btn_tw

In the News: Facebook and Twitter ‘harm young people’s mental health’

Four of the five most popular forms of social media harm young people’s mental health, with Instagram the most damaging, according to research by two health organisations.

Instagram has the most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing, a survey of almost 1,500 14- to 24-year-olds found, and the health groups accused it of deepening young people’s feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

The survey, published on Friday, concluded that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are also harmful. Among the five only YouTube was judged to have a positive impact.

The four platforms have a negative effect because they can exacerbate children’s and young people’s body image worries, and worsen bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the participants said.

 

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

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/19/popular-social-media-sites-harm-young-peoples-mental-health

Mental Health Today – Wales #MHTWales17

Last week I was invited to speak at the Mental Health Today conference in Cardiff. I set off on the Tuesday afternoon to make my way and was greeted to Wales with sun filled valleys and lush, green hill tops- what a sight!

As I entered Cardiff the scenery changed to a hive of activity, with tall buildings and busy people. I found my way through the traffic to my destination, the Premier Inn. With the extra excuse of it being Mental Health Awareness week I made sure I had a delicious hot meal and enjoyed a bubble bath with my first Lush (Handmade cosmetics) bath bomb.

With approximately 400 people attending the conference I was excited to mingle and meet new faces. The day of the conference was one of inspiration and hope. So many people and so many experiences to share! One particular presentation from Cyfle Cymru really stuck out for me, with a service user sharing their story with us. He mentioned the importance of creating space to do the things we want to do and taking the time to understand what getting well meant. I felt this message was such an important one for all of us to take note of. If we are to thrive it is essential we let ourselves explore what this looks like and how it will be done.

Before long it was my turn to present. Many people tell me I am confident when presenting, something I still struggle to accept after many years of managing my anxiety. As many of you may agree it is surprising just how much can go through your mind before you step up to speak. One of the last thoughts I had, whilst taking deep breaths and walking up to the stand, was how awe-inspiring it was to have so many people gathered together in one space all with the same mission to help improve the lives of those with mental health conditions- and I was lucky enough to contribute to this.

The whole day radiated hope and drive for constant change and I look forward to experiencing more of this atmosphere again at our own National conference on the 1st March, From Harm to Hope.

For more feedback on what took place at Mental Health Today and to read the interview I had on how best to support those who self harm please click here.

For more information on our own conference, From Harm to Hope email: admin@harmless.org.uk

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE

Harmless speak on talkRADIO about self harm

In the busy lead up to Christmas we were approached by a number of radio stations. This was in response to the published Self harm stats from the NSPCC which highlighted that 19,000 children were admitted to hospital after harming themselves last year – a 14% rise over three years (for more on those stats please click here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38252335).

I spoke with talkRADIO about self harm and appropriate ways to support and respond to individuals who self harm. To listen to the interview please click the following link:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/lw0wr8ly4aywxj1/Radio%20.mp4?dl=0

Thank you to Children In Need for supporting our young people self harm services

Tonight (18th November 2016) we will see the return of BBC Children in Need’s appeal show – an annual event which looks to raise money that will be used to make a real difference to the lives of disadvantaged children across the UK.

Since their first major Appeal in 1980, BBC Children in Need has raised over £800 million supporting thousands of projects to help achieve their vision; that every child in the UK has a childhood which is safe, happy and secure and allows them the chance to reach their potential.

Harmless are one of the many projects that have benefited from the money raised by the public and Children In Need.

In 2012, Harmless were awarded £88,910 over a 3 year period and supported more than 300 young people aged 11 to 18 who self-harm (or are at risk of self-harm).

In 2015, Harmless were awarded a further £109,489 to provide weekly counselling support for those who self harm or are at risk of suicide. We are now in our second year having already directly supported 63 different children and young people across Nottingham in year 1.

Earlier this year, Children In Need also created a short video about the work Harmless do which you can watch here: [Insert Link]

On behalf the Harmless team, I would like to thank Children in Need and their team for the continued support that they have given to Harmless and the children and young people that access our service(s). We wish everyone all the best and hope that they have another record breaking evening.

Darren Fox
Business and Operations Manager

 

To view an animation created by BBC Children in Need and Harmless, please click Bronwyn’s Story.

Watch Appeal Show 2015 on BBC One from 7:00pm on Friday 18th November

You can donate to Children in Need by clicking here

To learn more about our self harm support services, please contact Harmless by emailing info@harmless.org.uk

In the News: Mental health is the largest single course of ill health in UK.

Statistics suggest that one in four people in the UK will suffer with a mental health problem, which is the largest single course of ill health. Yet around three quarters of these people will receive no treatment at all. Ten per cent of children and young adults have a mental health problem and yet seventy per cent will receive no treatment.

GP’s are seeing more patients coming in with anxiety and low mood symptoms. Yet they are experiences difficulty accessing ongoing mental health support for their patients, suggesting that it may take a crisis for a person to be seen acutely by the mental health team.

One GP explains how they have been allocated a CPN who is able to see patients on the milder ends of the anxiety and depression spectrum, but has some concerns because this is a 12 month pilot.

They would like to see a CPN and social worker at every practice, which would allow them to link in with Mental health teams easier.

If you would like help and support please contact us on info@harmless.org.uk

 

For the full story follow the link: www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/12/gps-cant-solve-mental-health-crisis