Harmless is a user led organisation that provides counselling, information, training and consultancy to people who are at risk of self harm, suicidal thoughts and intent; their friends, families and professionals. Harmless was developed by people who understand self-harm and the factors that increase the risk of suicide. At the heart of our service is a real sense of hope, we know that with the appropriate help life experiences can be improved. Harmless manages The Tomorrow Project, an outreach suicide prevention programme commissioned by the Nottingham City CCG to raise awareness, encourage help-seeking by people at risk and to reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues.
1 Beech Avenue
How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
In line with the Suicide Prevention Strategy (2011) Harmless and The Tomorrow Project have implemented a city wide roll out to promote early intervention with those who do, or are at risk of self harming or suicide. This project has worked across communities with the following model of working.
- Direct access information services, to schools and communities working with those at risk.
- Provision of information materials to promote awareness and understanding of these issues, encouraging appropriate help seeking.
- Provide small scale packages of development to take the form of, talks, meetings and advice to carers and professionals regarding working with people at risk.
- Provide talks, meetings, advice and informal support directly to people who are at risk of self harm or suicide; the aim of this provision is to promote help seeking, and establish the presentation and need to facilitate appropriate referrals.
- To provide a priority response where there has been an incidence of suicide; providing support and information for the bereaved.
- Harmless and the Tomorrow Project promotes its self harm and suicide prevention training packages working collaboratively with Statutory, Private and third/Voluntary sector organisations; raising awareness and challenging the stigma attached to mental health issues.
- Harmless has been involved with a number of research projects undertaken by Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. Clinical data collected from the therapeutic work undertaken within Harmless forms part of the current research of these educational establishments.
What are your current priorities?
By working collaboratively with statutory, private, and third sector organisations, we have access to shared information relating to individuals and groups who are potentially at risk of harm.
The focus of the Tomorrow Project is to promote awareness and understanding of the issues of self harm and suicide. This provision offered within the community is aimed to encourage help-seeking from individuals who are at risk and to support professionals to respond with assurance to the sensitive and often difficult experience of identifying and supporting those at risk.
Harmless and the Tomorrow Project personnel respond with immediacy where risk is identified and referrals are made to appropriate agencies.
Information sessions for parents/carers raise awareness of the issues of self harm and suicide and enable parents and carers to respond supportively and appropriately when responding to young people in their care who are at risk.
Partnerships are developed and maintained with organisations, groups and government bodies whose influence/policies/research advance the reduction of self harm by identifying the needs of vulnerable individuals and highlighting the need for appropriate and accessible services.
These groups include:
- Nottingham CCG
- Ruschliffe CCG,
- Children in Need
- Nottingham University,
- Nottingham Trent,
- Clarc Project,
- Health Project
- National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA)
- The Alliance for Suicide Prevention Charities
- NSPCC Round Table
- *All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG)
Harmless is proactive in its partnerships to facilitate appropriate changes to policy within and national government* We continue to work towards raising awareness at all levels and challenging the stigma fostered by lack of understanding of the issues pertaining to self harm and suicidal ideation or intent.
On-going research is undertaken with partnership organisations to study the impact of self harm and suicide at an individual and societal level. In addition Harmless and the Tomorrow Project recognise that there is a 42% risk of further death amongst a community affected by suicide. In 2013, the specialist skills of the Harmless team were applied to the needs of the community in East Leake following a number of suicides. Recognising that men are at higher risk of suicide, the team identified accessible venues for contact and counselling support would be required if we were to engage with those most at risk. On this basis the service is continually promoted in local community venues e.g. the village pub/churches as well as the more established statutory establishments.
The Harmless team collaborates with the media both locally and nationally, providing guidance where reporting has including explicit details or method of self harm or completed suicides. Using our specialist experience we continue to respond proactively to any broadcasts or publications which may prove detrimental to vulnerable individuals by issuing information that may trigger anxiety/self harm or influence suicidal intent.
Harmless and the Tomorrow Projects consultation and training programmes raises awareness and develops professionals to respond appropriately when caring for individuals who have use self harm strategies to regulate their emotions. Members of the Harmless team provide training in A & E Departments to support medical professionals to understand the function of self harm and the emotional distress felt by people who have harmed themselves. In so doing we continue to work towards improving the experience of vulnerable individuals who use emergency services.
What challenges are you currently facing?
By investing time, building trust and working collaboratively with different agencies we develop key relationships that support positive engagement with our services.
- We offer transparency to our work and ethos by inviting organisations to meet with Harmless and Tomorrow Project team to develop increased awareness of the issues relating to self harm and suicide.
- We accomplish the breaking down of the barriers of stigma relating to self harm and suicide by creating and maintaining direct relationships with other organisations.
- Provision of streamlined targeted interventions in the form of bespoke packages, flexibly presenting a spectrum of guidance from emotional health, wellbeing and resilience to more direct training relating to self harm and suicide prevention. The ability to respond flexibly to each organisation’s perception of the subject of mental health and risk enables Harmless and The Tomorrow Project to effectively promote our service and establish trusting relationships.