Launch day: #CheerForGood

Starbucks are partnering with Neighbourly to support local community charities with a donation.

Now it’s time to #CheerForGood

More cheers = More lives saved

We NEED You! 

Only 30 charities in the whole of the UK whose supporters cheer the loudest will get a £2,000 grant. So if you believe in saving lives please cheer for us!

How to Cheer

Please share and join our Harmless Neighbourly page in our big to shout the loudest! 

Alternatively…

Harmless will be at Starbucks in Giltbrook (near Ikea) today to fundraise! Come along to say hello, and if you can’t, tweet/Facebook post your support for @HarmlessUK with the #CheerForGood and #HarmlessUK hashtags. For those who can pop by, we have a photo prop at the ready. 

Would you like to work for Harmless as part of our clinical team?

We are currently recruiting for a Specialist Therapist to join the Harmless team. The deadline for applications is Monday 27th November 2017 at 12pm, with interviews to take place in the week commencing 4th December 2017.

To download the job description, please click here.

To download an application form, please click here.

JOB TITLE: Specialist Therapist

HOURS: Up to 37.5 hours per week

SALARY: £23,250 per annum

START DATE: 8th January 2018

This position has been funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Harmless are pleased to offer an exciting opportunity to join our passionate team and help us save lives.  We are looking for a dynamic individual, who is willing to develop their skills; work outside the box and challenge themselves in order to do whatever is required to help people attain recovery.

This role is particularly well suited to a therapist early in their career looking for a long term opportunity to develop as a specialist therapist.

Application Deadline: 27th November 2017 at 12pm.

Interviews will be held in Nottingham w/c 4th December 2017.

Please send your completed application form by the deadline to info@harmless.org.uk.

If you have any questions regarding the role or the application process, please contact us by calling 0115 880 0280 or email info@harmless.org.uk.

Children’s grief awareness week

This week has been Children’s grief awareness week, which runs from 16th to 22nd November

It is estimated that 1 in 29 children and young people in school have been bereaved by a parent of sibling. The Childhood Bereavement Network estimates that over 100 children are bereaved of a mum or dad each day.

We understand that bereavement by suicide is unlike any other type of bereavement, and we do not want anyone to feel alone or like there is no one to turn to for help.

The Tomorrow Project offer support to those that may be in suicide crisis and those that have been bereaved and affected by suicide. No matter what age, we can help

The Tomorrow Project will be here, for those bereaved and affected by suicide, when and as you need us.

#yourenotalone

bereavement@tomorrowproject.org.uk

0115 880 0280

 

 

 

Save a life this Christmas!

Please support our Christmas Appeal. if you were thinking of donating instead of sending cards, or you’d like to do something good for someone instead of buying a gift – then please think of us.

Each year we receive more and more requests for help and hear increasingly tragic stories of loss, yet we still have no statutory funding for our work.

For us to even think about delivering the same level of support in 2018 we are going to need your help.

Please share our appeal far and wide. However little or much you can afford, every penny will help. Please visit the following link if you would like to make a donation:

https://localgiving.org/appeal/savealife/?preview=1267

In the news: The rise of mental health in hip-hop lyrics

Hip-hop is having a watershed moment for mental health. In the last two years, some of the biggest rappers have peeled back the curtain on their personal lives to shine a light on their struggles with mental health issues.

Take Kanye West’s album “The Life of Pablo”, where he mentions both seeing a psychiatrist and taking Lexapro, an antidepressant used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. Or Kid Cudi, who publicly announced he’d checked into rehab for depression and suicidal urges, writing that “anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it.” Even rap veteran Jay-Z has advocated the importance of therapy in recent months.

In the midst of hip-hop’s dive into mental health awareness, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many mainstream artists have also opened up about practicing meditation. Big Sean, Vic Mensa, Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, J. Cole, and Drake, to name a few, have credited meditation as impacting areas of their lives and creative output. And, of course, Def Jam Recordings label founders Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons attribute much of their success to meditation.

“[T]he person I am was shaped by the experience of the years of meditation,” says Rubin, who produced albums for everyone from Beastie Boys to Kanye. “I feel like I can see deeply into things in a way that many of the people around me don’t, or can’t.”

“Meditation is a guaranteed way to not only dip into, but stay connected with, your creative spirit,” echoes Simmons. “People have this misconception that meditation will chill you out and make you soft, but the opposite is true. I meditate every morning when I wake up and almost the second my session is over I’m eager to tackle whatever is on my plate for that day.”

But perhaps the rap game’s biggest meditation advocate is one that currently holds the title as Greatest Rapper Alive: Kendrick Lamar.

Kendrick has plugged meditation on four (!) of his tracks. Take these lyrics from “untitled 03 | 05.28.2013”:

Meditation is a must, it don’t hurt if you try
See you thinking too much, plus you too full of yourself
Worried about your career, you ever think of your health?

In a 2016 interview for GQ Style, Kendrick elaborates on his meditation routine:

“I have to have at least 30 minutes to myself,” he says. “If it’s not on the daily, every other day, to just sit back, close my eyes, and absorb what’s going on. You know, the space that I’m in [and] how I’m feeling at the moment.”

Kendrick cites the frenetic busyness of his career as a motivator to practice being more present. “When you in music—and everybody knows this—the years are always cut in half, because you always have something to do,” he says. “It just goes and then you miss out on your moment because you’re so in the moment you didn’t know the moment was going on.”

After realizing that music was consuming his thoughts and attention, Kendrick turned to meditation for time and space away from his work: “That 30 minutes helps me to totally zone out and not think about my next lyric. You know? It gives me a re-start, a jump start, a refresh. It lets me know why I’m here, doing what I’m doing.”

Competition is ingrained in hip-hop’s DNA; there’s tremendous pressure to claim the “best rapper alive” throne by breaking the mold on verbal gymnastics, pushing artistic boundaries, and resonating with audiences through culture and emotion. Slap on deadlines from record labels, plus scrutiny and sensationalism from the public eye—it’s a paralyzing weight for anyone to endure.

“There’s a great deal of bullshit that people think about when they make music, things that don’t matter,” Rubin says. “[Meditation] kind of wipes that away, and you focus on the real job at hand, as opposed to thinking about what the management wants, or what the record company’s saying, or what somebody at a radio station might think.”

While the dusty notion that hip-hop is all about cars, money, and clothes may still ring true for certain acts, there’s no denying that the genre has evolved. By unmasking both the stigmas attached to mental health issues and stereotypes about meditation, the rap game is well set up for a healthier and happier road ahead—for artists and fans alike.

Link to full blog here: https://www.headspace.com/blog/2017/10/13/mental-health-hip-hop/

In the news: Police receive new powers to search people with mental health needs

Guidance issued to police will see many new changes in the way police respond to call outs from December 11. Police will now be expected to “keep” individuals at a ‘place of safety’ (including, potentially, their home) rather than move them to hospitals or police station, which what has typically happened to date. 

Police are to receive new powers next month to search people with mental health needs. The new search power allows police officers to search people in distress when section 135 or 136 (‘sectioning’) orders are imposed. Mental Health Today were first last week to reveal 1,000 people vulnerable people were detained in police cells last year. New guidance released by the Department of Health reveals police will now be given the powers to carry out searches for “their own safety”. 

Guidance issued to police today will see many new changes in the way police respond to call outs from December 11 onwards:

• section 136 powers may now be exercised anywhere other than in a private
dwelling

• it is now unlawful to use a police station as a place of safety for anyone under the age of 18 in any circumstances

• a police station can now only be used as a place of safety for adults in specific circumstances, which are set out in regulations

• the previous maximum detention period of up to 72 hours has been reduced to 24 hours (unless a doctor certifies that an extension of up to 12 hours is necessary)

• before exercising a section 136 power police officers must, where practicable, consult one of the health professionals listed in section 136(1C), or in regulations made under that provision

• a person subject to section 135 or 136 can be kept at, as well as removed to, a place of safety. Therefore, where a section 135 warrant has been executed, a person may be kept at their home (if it is a place of safety) for the purposes of an assessment rather than being removed to another place of safety

• a new search power allows police officers to search persons subject to section 135 or 136 powers for protective purposes.

Link to full blog here: https://www.mentalhealthtoday.co.uk/breaking-police-receive-new-powers-to-search-people-with-mental-health-needs

 

 

In the news: The counsellors on the frontline of the student mental health crisis

I am walking through Nottingham’s Arboretum park on a bright cold afternoon with 10 other people, all of us in complete silence. At first I find the whole thing so awkward I have to suppress an embarrassed laugh. But as we make our wordless way through the dappled shade, I feel an atmosphere of calm and thoughtfulness envelop us like a protective cloak.

The others in my group are undergraduate students, chaplains and other staff of Nottingham Trent University (NTU), all taking part in a mindfulness walk, intended to bring some space and quiet reflection into students’ hectic lives. Guided by the chaplains (who speak occasionally), we pause as a group to consider questions in the booklets we have been handed: “who am I?”, “where am I going in my life?” and “what brings me a sense of excitement?” Left to our silence, we note down our answers. Stopping by a rubbish bin, we ask, “What rubbish am I carrying with me in my life?” We tear off our answers and throw them in the bin. It sounds silly, but weeks later I still feel lighter for casting off that scribble on a scrap of paper.

Back in the bustling City Campus of NTU, students and staff weave their way around each other, a mass of hoodies and headscarves, skullcaps and backwards caps, hipster beards and hi-tops. Posters advertise a programme of free yoga, craft classes and eating-disorder information sessions: my visit coincides with Wellbeing Week, designed to raise awareness of mental health and encourage students who need help to seek it. This is just one part of NTU’s strategy to meet a dramatic rise in the need for support.

Last month, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) published a reportrevealing that nationally, the number of first-year students who disclose a mental health problem has risen fivefold in the past decade. A record number of students with mental health problems dropped out of university in 2015, the latest year for which figures are available. In the same year, 134 students killed themselves, the highest number on record. Similarly, the number of UK students seeking counselling has rocketed by 50% in the past five years, to more than 37,000, according to figures obtained by the Guardian. This trend is reflected at NTU: wellbeing services received 38% more referrals last year than in 2014/15.

There are many reasons mental health problems may arise at university. It is a time of transition: people are no longer living in the family home, but not yet fully independent either. Added to this, some might experience the big fish – small pond effect, where teenagers who are used to being recognised for their achievements find themselves in a more competitive yet more anonymous environment. Difficulties that have been repressed throughout school can bubble up when students leave their support network behind. As Glenn Baptiste, a mental health adviser at NTU says, “Sometimes it might look like it’s a problem that’s occurred within university, but that’s not always the case. If students come here with ongoing issues that they’ve not discussed, the university environment can make life difficult.”

Student Services manager Alison Bromberg says the most common mental health problems reported by NTU students are anxiety and depression. Bromberg can see how the challenges young people face today play their part in this rise – the burden of student debt, economic uncertainty, global political upheaval, apocalyptic climate change – “but,” she says, “I also think that a lot of work has happened and is still happening to reduce the stigma around discussing mental health and emotional needs. I think it’s making it more possible for people to come forward and ask for that support.”, global political upheaval, economic uncertainty, student debt

 

Rosie Tressler, CEO of student mental health charity Student Minds, tells me, “The 2016 Student Academic Experience Survey provided strong evidence that [undergraduates] have lower levels of wellbeing than the rest of the population, with roughly one-third reporting psychological distress, and we know that the median age of higher education students overlaps the peak age of onset for mental health difficulties.” In other words, evidence suggests many people with mental health disorders first experience symptoms between the ages of 18 and 25.

 

When I asked students around the country about their experiences of mental health, they talked about stressful deadlines, difficulties forming new relationships, balancing a job with studies, financial worries and social pressures. They also painted a picture of patchy provision: while some received prompt and effective help, others described underfunded services, excruciatingly long waiting times and dismissive attitudes. One student talked about desperately trying to get a counselling appointment when booking opened at 9am, only to find that all the slots had gone when she got through at 9.03am. A final-year student at another university wrote that she is experiencing increasing anxiety and can’t get help: “A good counsellor I saw in my first year has left, and they are not recruiting any more, so there are lots of students chasing very few appointments. They refer you on or offer leaflets. It seems very inadequate.”

Alex, 21, was a student at a Midlands university when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety and severe depression. She says services are able to deal only with the most seriously distressed students: “Because of the strain on the service, if you weren’t suicidal at the current time, you weren’t helped. You had to be five minutes from death or you had to wait weeks. You had to be at your worst.”

The counselling she was eventually offered was helpful, but she felt the eight-week wait was too long and the six weeks it lasted too short. For long-term therapy on the NHS, she was told she needed to wait a year, by which time she would have graduated and moved home. “So it’s kind of pointless,” she says. For others, such as George Watkins, 21, who is at Cardiff and has had anxiety and depression for eight years, the experience has been more positive: “It is since coming to university that I have made the most progress. I came off the crippling medication, came through suicidal patches and have now come more or less out the other side.” After having a breakdown around the time of his GCSEs, Watkins didn’t leave his house for six months, and then didn’t leave his small town in Dorset for three years.

At NTU, Alison Bromberg still thinks there is cause to feel optimistic about the future. “I do. I actually do. It feels as if we’re embracing a much more holistic framework across the sector.” She cites proposed changes to the university curriculum, such as creating course content for all students on subjects such as coping with change and understanding stress and anxiety. “We’ve got to make sure mental health becomes everybody’s business. That’s the journey we’re on. And I think we’ve come a long way.” 

Click here for link to the full article: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/28/campus-confidential-counsellors-student-mental-health-crisis

 

Could you write a blog for us?

Harmless would like to invite you to contribute to our blog. Our blog is important to us because it helps us convey a range of issues around self harm and suicide to the public. It helps us reach people in distress and promote better understanding about these issues amongst our readers.

It helps us tell you about our work, upcoming events, dispel myths and offer advice. But we also want it to challenge stigma and to offer real stories about self harm and recovery so that people reading this can feel connected to what we do and who we help.

If you would like to write a blog for us about your experiences, then you can submit this to info@harmless.org.uk with the title ‘blog post’. In your email, please tell us what name you would like us to use for you. You can say as little about your identity as you want.

The blog should be about 200 -300 words in length and shouldn’t be graphic in any way, but should offer the reader an insight into your experiences that mighty help them relate to self harm, distress, or suicide. The blog could be about what you’ve felt or experienced, what’s helped, or not helped… What needs to change, or what he stigma around these issues has been for you.

It is vital to harmless that we represent your voice and your experiences, so if you feel you can contribute to this blog, please do.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Do you have any items you may no longer need?

As some of you may know, Harmless and The Tomorrow Project have recently moved into our new home!

Do you have items you may no longer need?

De-stashing the house ready for Christmas?

We want our spaces to be welcoming, comfortable and supportive and we are reaching out to anyone who may be able to offer us a helping hand with a few items, such as;

Cutlery

Hand towels

Tea towels

Cushions

Pictures/Canvases

Children’s toys

Art and craft materials

Please do get in touch if you are able to support us with any of these!

Phone: 0115 880 0280

Email: info@harmless.org.uk

We thank you for your continued support

How easy do you find it to switch off? Science says it may depend on your age group.

According to market research conducted in 2015 by Mintel, young adults aged between 16 to 34 are the ‘most stressed’ age group, and experts are pointing the blame directly at this group’s high levels of social media exposure. The average UK home now owns 7.4 devices which are connected to the internet. When broken down, that’s an average of 1.7 smartphones, 1.3 laptops and 1.2 tablets, one games console, 0.6 desktop computers and 0.5 connected TVs per household. These high levels of connectivity are making it harder for us to disengage.

Technology has transformed our 9 to 5, giving us better opportunities and communication tools, but it’s also made it harder to unwind. Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to enhance your downtime and reduce stress.

  1. Retrain your brain. When bored or stressed, it’s easy to crave a quick fix in the form of clicks and likes, but breaking this habit will mean your happiness isn’t dependent on the number of shares your latest tweet received. If you crave social interaction, spending time (in person) with family and friends will give you a long-term boost, and get you away from the screen.
  2. Take a walk – and leave your phone in your pocket. Research by the University of Essex has found that exercising in pleasant surroundings has a greater effect in reducing blood pressure than hitting the gym and plugging into another screen. Green spaces and fresh air, ideally close to water, were shown to significantly improve self-esteem and enable participants to relax more effectively in the evening.
  3. Treat your commute as ‘me-time’ not an opportunity to work remotely. Professor Mark Cropley, author of The Off-Switch, advises: “The shortest route to changing your thought pattern is to find a task that is the total opposite to your work and completely absorbs the mind. For an accountant who looks as a screen for ten hours a day, for example, cycling home – a physical activity where you have to be aware of traffic around you – is ideal.”
  4. Practise mindfulness. Limit distractions such as the TV, radio or flicking between apps and take the time to focus on your food, notice your surroundings and tune into how you are feeling. Identifying feelings of stress and when and why they occur will enable you to take control of them. If you feel stressed, meditating on an object, taking in its texture, appearance and smell can help you remain calm.
  5. Read a book in bed – not your tablet. Oxford scientists have declared that we now get up to two hours’ less sleep than we did 60 years ago, and this could be due to our use of bright screens at bedtime, which prevent our brains from releasing melatonin, the hormone that tells our bodies it’s night time. Turning off your tablet an hour before bedtime, can help keep our body clock in check. “Make sure you read with traditional lighting, so called ‘warm’ light with more energy in the red end of the spectrum,” adds psychologist Lynn D. Johnson.“That convinces the brain it is sundown and time to quiet down.”
  6. To aid sleep further, take a bath. Not only does soaking in the bath encourage you to put down your smartphone, but the hot water will raise your body temperature slightly so that when you get out the quick cooldown mimics the natural temperature drop triggered by the brain before sleep. To get the most out of your bath, practise meditation, read a good book or listen to music rather than switching on Netflix. Essential oils like lavender and eucalyptus are also renowned for their calming, therapeutic effects. Focus on your breathing, and cherish the opportunity to have time and space all to yourself.

For the full article https://uk.lush.com/article/how-pull-plug-stress