In the News: Breaking the Silence of Suicide

The stigma surrounding suicide can have a devastating effect. Those who experience suicidal thoughts may well not want to talk about it, and if they do open up to someone, that someone might shirk from the matter, not take it seriously, not know how to deal with it or, indeed, not want to. Suicide, though, is not inevitable. Prevention is possible, and you can help.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 800,000 people take their own lives each year. In 2012 it was the second leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds and, according to a 2014 British government report, it is three times as common in males, with rates highest for those aged 35 to 54. Because of the traditional role masculinity has played in society, explains Sam Challis, information manager at mental health charity Mind, “men are less likely [than women] to talk about their feelings and get support. So it would be more common for a man to take his own life and for nobody to have known there was anything wrong.”

There are, though, warning signs – among them a change in sleeping and eating patterns, lack of energy, increased drug or alcohol abuse and social withdrawal. If you’re concerned that someone might not be coping well, the crucial thing to do is to talk to them. “There is often a spontaneity issue with suicide, so it’s about increasing the time between thought and action,” says Lorna Fraser, media advisor at Samaritans. “If an intervention [can] be made, the likelihood is that the person will be able to go on, they’ll be able to work through their problems and life will start to become better.”

Just showing your support and giving someone space to communicate their feelings can be a huge release for them. Asking directly about suicide may help. It will not push them in the wrong direction. “That is a myth,” says Fraser. “Sometimes being able to actually express that ‘Yeah, actually, I’ve felt so bad that I have thought about taking my own life’ can be a tremendous relief to share.”

Sympathy and support are vital. Guilt trips are not – it is unproductive to tell someone that what they’re thinking is wrong. Challis explains: “[Comments] such as, ‘Think of what it’ll do to your family’ are often very unhelpful because it’s likely that somebody who’s thinking about suicide is already feeling pretty awful about themselves. It is almost irrelevant what the situation is or what the reason is for the person feeling that way, because they do feel that way. If somebody tells you they’re feeling suicidal, then those feelings are real. So try not to judge their reasons, or the feelings themselves, but try to be there, listen and be supportive.”

Ask them how you can help. They might prefer to speak to someone neutral, in which case you can point them in the direction of Samaritans or Mind. Certainly, if someone does tell you that they’re thinking about suicide, don’t take it lightly. If they’re voicing it, it’s likely to be a very real consideration. Contacting their GP with them can be of great value. And if you think somebody is on the verge of taking their own life there and then, call an ambulance. “People shouldn’t be scared to do that,” says Challis. “We hear from people saying they don’t want to waste their time, but if somebody was having a heart attack you wouldn’t think twice about it, and it’s the same thing: it’s somebody’s life at risk.”

There is hope. Just because a suicidal person can’t see a way out of their situation, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to live. Talk is the first step to recovery. You can help.


The full news article can be found at:

Self Harm Drop In Wednesday 2nd July

The next Harmless adult drop (ages 18+) in is next Wednesday, 2nd July from 14:30-15:30.

These sessions are for anyone who would like support for either themselves or others. Our trained therapists will be on hand to offer information or advice about any concerns you may have.

Or, if you would like more information about the service is general and the work we do, feel free to come for a chat during these drop in sessions.

Our drop in sessions are held at the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Centre on Mansfield road (opposite House of Fraser).

If you have any trouble finding us you can contact us on 0115 834 8445 (admin line only) or email

Two drop in services are available on a bi-monthly basis. The next young persons drop in for ages 11-21 will take place on Wednesday 6th August at the new time 3pm.

To find out further dates for the Harmless Drop ins, click here.

Tomorrow Project and Harmless attend National Suicide Prevention Alliance

On Thursday two representatives of The Tomorrow project and Harmless attended The National Suicide Prevention Alliance. We were invited to the 1st Annual Membership meeting at The Directory of Social Change in London. The day provided a great opportunity for networking, hearing about important developments within the NSPA and joint programmes of work and what this meant  for The Tomorrow project and Harmless.

The six core aims of the NSPA have been broadly retained from the shared aims as set out in the National Call to Action Declaration. The Alliance aspires to:

1 Build an active network of organisations that are committed to taking action to reduce suicide and better supporting those affected by suicide; creating a network of contacts, information and resources to facilitate collaboration between members, including coordinated action.

2 Raise awareness and build knowledge of issues around suicide; working with organisations and agencies who are involved in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention, to build an evidence base for future activity.

3 Deliver commitment and influence to suicide prevention and the National Suicide Prevention Strategy by engaging with health and wellbeing boards, Directors for Public Health and relevant stakeholders from public, private and third sector organisations, in order to drive change.

4 Mobilise action driven by shared priorities, and mobilise delivery against key actions that members believe will make a real difference to reducing suicide, and supporting people affected by suicide.

5 Share best practice by enabling stakeholders to map the actions they are currently carrying out to reduce suicide or support those affected by suicide, and share information and examples of good practice.

6 Improve support by improving accessibility and quality of relevant information, as well as sources of support for people at risk of death by suicide, those worried about a loved one and for those bereaved by suicide; making sure where possible, that families, carers and friends can play a full role in improving the accessibility and quality of information, and support for those at risk of suicide and those bereaved by suicide.

Further information can be found in the The National Suicide Prevention Alliance Annual Review 2012-2013;

We also had the opportunity to speak with  Professor Louis Appleby, Chair of the Governments Advisory Group for the National Suicide  Prevention Strategy for England, about how The Tomorrow project and Harmless are working within the Midlands. This was met with great enthusiasm and has prompted the ability for further collaboration.

The Tomorrow Project and Harmless will look to maintain links with NSPA by working collaboratively and continuing to support the prevention of suicide both locally and throughout Nationally.

Harmless are recruiting counsellors and therapists for mental health, self harm and suicide support

Harmless are looking to recruit therapists (bank staff) to work with clients who experience mental health problems and/or that self harm or are at risk of self harm and suicide.

JOB TITLE: Sessional Therapists (Bank Staff)

We are currently recruiting sessional counsellors to supplement our permanent Harmless team. This role will primarily involve working with clients who experience mental health problems and/or that self harm or are at risk of self harm and suicide.

‘Bank staff’ will provide cover for both planned and unplanned leave within the clinical team as well as bringing specific skills, knowledge and experience for short periods of time.


  • To provide sessional counselling people to clients who experience mental health problems and/or that self harm or are at risk of self harm and suicide.
  • To work collaboratively and assertively with the communities and environments where a person is already in contact to provide information, containment and enhance a collaborative recovery approach for the person experiencing mental health problems and/or that self harm or are at risk of self harm and suicide.
  • Counsellors must be accredited with BACP or equivalent. Unfortunately we will not consider anyone who is not accredited at this time.

Application closing date: Close of business on 20th June

Interviews: w/c 23rd June and/or 30th June 2014

For more information about this position or for an application form, Job description and person specification – please email

Self Harm and Suicide Prevention Work in Nottingham Colleges

As part of the ongoing efforts of the Tomorrow Project in the community, our representatives introduced our self harm and suicide prevention work at a local Nottingham college where key strategies of prevention, intervention and postvention were discussed.

The format of the Tomorrow Project  is delivered via a flexible programme of:

  • Staff training sessions ,
  • PSHE style workshops ,
  • Informal support
  • Parent information sessions
  • Information stands

The response of college personnel to this work which has been commissioned by the Nottingham CCG was very favourable.

Harmless and the Tomorrow Project  continues to raise awareness of our work of information sharing, challenging stigma of mental health issues, and supporting individuals identified as being at risk of self harm or suicide.

For further information  please refer to the websites:



Tomorrow Project present suicide prevention strategies to Nottingham Healthcare Trust

Harmless Personnel have presented the strategies of the Tomorrow Project within Nottingham City boundaries, and the UK reach of Harmless CIC to Nottingham Healthcare Trust staff.

Details of the self harm and suicide prevention work of the Tomorrow Project was shared and an opportunity was also given for staff members to become familiar with the clinical, support and consultative work undertaken by the team within Harmless.

Segments of the Harmless DVD provided a poignant representation of the experience of individuals who have been at risk of self harm and suicidal thoughts.  Equally the views of a psychologist working within this field highlighted the importance of working sensitively with the needs each person as they approach mental health services for support.

The clinical work of Harmless was of specific interest to the Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust staff members and the flexible and proactive approach of our service was promoted.

For further information  please refer to the websites:


Harmless and Tomorrow Project deliver vital self harm support in schools

Over the past few weeks, one of Harmless and the Tomorrow Project’s counsellors has been working in schools with young people who self harm and have suicidal ideation.

It is of vital importance that we support young people who self harm by providing opportunities to explore their feelings and find alternative strategies to support them dealing with difficult issues such as friendship difficulties, relationship issues, stress and anxiety.

Many young people find it difficult to cope with their feelings and turn to self harm as a way of expressing their distress. By attending sessions with Harmless, it is hoped that young people will learn coping strategies that do not involve self harm such as talking to someone, relaxation or distraction. Self harm is not attention seeking, it is not a mental illness; it is a symptom of internal stress or distress.

Keep up to date with our latest self harm and suicide prevention work

Want to keep up with the latest news from Harmless and the Tomorrow Project?

Why not sign up to our mailing list to receive details of upcoming events, self harm training and the work we deliver in the community around self harm and suicide prevention. By signing up to our mailing list you will receive weekly updates from the team, information about our training programme and what we can offer to you and your organisation. You will also be the first to find out about offers on our self harm resources from the online store

To sign up to our mailing list please email with your name, email and what you are interested in.

Don’t forget, you can also keep up to date with our work by liking Harmless on Facebook (here), liking the Tomorrow Project (here) or following us on twitter @harmlessuk / @lifevssuicide



Therapeutic work carried out in schools around self harm and suicide

Each week Harmless and The Tomorrow Project are fortunate enough to have a presence in a school environment where therapeutic work is being carried out with young people around self harm and suicide. This is a new and exciting part of the project that means we can now reach an even wider population. Initially funded for 12 weeks we are hoping that the project will be successful enough to have a more permanent base in the school. The more young people we can reach and support about self harm and suicide – the better!