MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2017: Why is it so important and how you can get involved?

Mental health awareness week is so important because despite 1 in 4 of us experiencing problems, the topic is still surrounded by a lot of stigma and discrimination. Just as we all strive for good physical health, our mental health and wellbeing should be equally important.

So many people in the UK are struggling without help and it’s only through raising awareness, education and communication that we can challenge stigma and start to have these conversations. It’s so important to talk.

As a society it’s so important to challenge the stigma and discrimination because it doesn’t matter how old you are, your gender or even your job: mental health doesn’t discriminate, anyone can be effected. With 1 in 4 of us being effected at some time in our life, it’s important to consider the wider impact on friends and family, because actually that would mean most of society will be effected in some way.

How to get involved

At Harmless we have carefully constructed a week of events (8-14th May) to coincide with this years Mental Health Awareness Week & it’s theme: surviving to thriving. We will be having our own focus on self-care and have teamed up with LUSH, Hotpod yoga, Super+Super and Cafe Sobar.

We are also holding an open day for anyone to pop in for a coffee, meet the team and find out about what we do. During the day we are also putting on two workshops around emotional health and wellbeing, resilience and internet safety.

Throughout the week we will be challenging stigma and discrimination in a positive and productive way, all whilst raising life saving funds for Harmless services.

If you’d like to get involved you can go onto our website, Facebook or Twitter pages for more info. Or email

The role of friends and our mental health

A few days ago my friend sent me an article titled: “To the friends who loved me unconditionally when I hit rock bottom”, and I’ve been thinking about it since. What kept coming to mind was the powerful and often unappreciated role friendships play on our lives.

“Thank you for all the times that you showed me warmth, the random hugs that you graced me with because you knew something was up even if I didn’t tell you anything”.

For me, this particular line really resonated, it shows the real importance of true friendships and the fact that sometimes they ‘just know’. Friends love you unconditionally, even at times when you don’t love yourself. They reassure us that life does get better, there is hope and they will always be by our side to remind us. I for one am truly grateful for my friend and was really touched when I was sent this article.

After reading this article it led me think about how many people don’t feel able to talk to someone, the devastating effect this would have and what we can do to change it.

Yesterday Professor Louis Appleby released new statistics stating that in 2016 there were 4,540 suicides in England. These statistics make suicide the leading cause of death in young people in the UK and also shows those over 45 are at greatest risk. With the rate of suicides at 4,540, that’s 4,540 more deaths than there should have been. This ultimately shows is the need for support, the need to challenge stigma around mental health and that starts at home.

Let friend’s know it’s okay to’re there for them to listen, without judgment.

Being open around mental health challenges stigma in a positive light and may be all a friend needs to be comfortable in asking for our help.

When someone is struggling with their mental health they may become distant, cancel plans and want to see us less than usual. However, this is when friendships play a key role and is exactly when maintaining friendships are so important.

The mental health foundation says: If you’re the friend of someone with a mental health problem, you may be concerned about them. The most important thing is to tell them that you’re still their friend. If your friend is comfortable with being touched, a hug shows that you care about them and that you accept them whatever problems they are having.

“My friend asked me questions, didn’t just assume things, she really wanted to know.”

Take your cue from your friend. Are they comfortable with questions or would they rather talk about something else? Don’t promise things you may not be able to deliver. How can you help them best?

If you’re the friend, the most valuable support you can provide is just being there to talk and listen. People really appreciate that their friends have made time to contact them, visit them and invite them round.

These are five steps that research shows can help people with mental health problems:

■            Assess risk of suicide or self-harm

■            Listen non-judgmentally

■            Give reassurance and information

■            Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help

■            Encourage self-help strategies.

Because we understand the importance of self care & thriving we decided to create a week long agenda, during mental health awareness week, to support the community around us. You don’t need to be a service user to attend, every individual is welcome. Here at Harmless we understand that mental health doesn’t discriminate, so neither do we.

“Self-care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health”.

At Harmless we encourage self-care every day, not only to our clients but to our delegates and our team. We understand the importance of self care…and after all, thriving starts with self care!

All our workshops are held in a safe, non judgmental environment, perfect to make new friends or support an already blossoming friendship.

Click this link to book onto one of our activities for Mental Health Awareness Week 2017: 

Our trainer, Sarah, Speaks about attending the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network Mental Health Innovation Exchange Conference

Yesterday I stepped in and attended the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network Mental Health Innovation Exchange. Squinting through the bright lights and breathing through the nerves, I looked across at the sea of faces in front me and it was uplifting to know we were all working towards the same goal. Our innovation may be varied and are personalities or backgrounds different but what shone through strong and clear was our passion for continual change and hope; for a better future, a more supportive society and a voice for those unheard.

I felt honoured to be speaking on behalf of Harmless about the Tomorrow Project. Listening to Caroline, our CEO, and other members of our team it is evident that they all care, implicitly, including myself. But, it isn’t just our team who can see The Tomorrow Project’s significance, many professionals also acknowledge the work we do and the support we deliver (Thank you Keith Waters) and it is crucial we continue to fortify this. The Tomorrow Project saves lives and by spreading the message, speaking at conferences such as this one, ensures that we too our continually working towards innovation and hope.

So please help save lives and donate:

Taking Care of your Mental Health

It is Nottingham Mental health Awareness weeks and we want to share with you ways to look after your mental health.

Mental health is the emotional and spiritual resilience which allows us to enjoy life and survive pain, disappointment and sadness. It is a positive sense of well being and an underlying belief in our own, and other’s dignity and worth.

We can look after our mental health in so many different ways such as:

  • Talking about your feelings, this can help you to cope with your problems. Being listened to can help you feel supported and not alone.
  • Eating well, there are strong links between what we eat and how we feel, eat at least 3 meals each day and drink plenty of water.
  • Keeping in touch with family and friends, spend time developing your relationship with your family and friends or join a group this will help you feel connected.
  • Being active, participating in regular activity such as walking in the fresh air, gardening or any other exercise can release chemicals in your brain, which makes you feel good; it can boost your self esteem.
  • Developing a skill can give you a sense of achievement. Doing something you are good at, something you can lose yourself in, so there is no room in your head for worries.
  • Accept who you are, we are all different and all unique, accepting who you are increases your confidence and self esteem.
  • Take time to relax, unwind and enjoy yourself.

If you would like to talk to someone about mental health, Harmless run regular drop in sessions where you can meet with one of our trained therapists. The next sessions are as follows:

  • Young person drop-in or those aged 21 years and under: Wednesday 21st October between 11am and 12pm. 
  • Adult drop-in for those aged 18 and over: Wednesday 28th October, between 3:30pm and 4:30pm.