Volunteers’ Week: Sharing our stories- Jack

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To celebrate Volunteers Week (1 to 7 June) we asked some of amazing YouthNet volunteers to share their thoughts on why they volunteer.

Here’s Jack’s blog…Jack Welch

Having known YouthNet through a number of the youth projects in volunteering across a number of local and national organisations, I finally discovered a way to be involved in March this year as they recruited for their new ‘Job Squad’ through the social media networks I often use to discover opportunities and events going on beyond my local area. But what exactly was ‘Job Squad’, I asked myself? As it turned out, finding this new project through social media turned out to be very appropriate for the occasion, as YouthNet are going through a period of research (known as the ‘Cycle of Innovation’) where they are essentially looking into the digital tools that supported young people into finding employment. I was fortunate enough to be selected as a young person who would help the charity support their findings into some of the challenges our generation faces at the moment and inputting into their ideas for a creation of a new digital source which may just help more young people become ‘job ready’ and prepared for the wider world.

I’m very excited to see the results from our research with the charity, as each session has offered an inventive and stimulating formula in looking at the various needs young people have in finding a job in different areas of the country. As a university student that has now finished my degree, it will be great to see if any new effective tools for job searching will help people such as myself pursue an ideal place for employment.

The project’s been a great way to practice my team-work and communication skills, as well as using my own initiative when it came to creating my own ideas for some of the exercises involved. I very much hope to stay involved with future YouthNet activities and support their work for getting a wide array of young people in the country in putting their digital skills for good use.

Our thanks to Jack for his blog and continued support. YouthNet works with 263 volunteers who support us in all areas of our services. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, take a look at our current opportunities
or get in touch via volunteer@youthnet.org

Volunteers’ Week: Sharing our stories

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To celebrate Volunteers Week (1 to 7 June) we asked some of amazing YouthNet volunteers to share their thoughts on why they volunteer.

Here’s Lauren’s blog…

My name’s Lauren, I’ve attended a weekender with YouthNet working on a mobile app for handling stress and I also help out on the boards on TheSite, something I began back in January however despite beginning 4 months back it hasn’t taken hours and hours of my life away. The boards are where topics are discussed and advice given, its similar to meeting a friend for coffee as you’re engaging with real people who perhaps want support or just a good movie recommendation. Where its all online there’s no pressure to contribute where you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have the time.

I went for it because being a college student I feel now is the time to begin giving back, I’m at the stage I can look after myself but am not yet living alone and facing a mountain of responsibilities; I have the time and should give some up for others.

Skill-wise I’d say I’ve gained the ability to distance myself (not get too attached to those I’ve just met) while putting myself in their shoes at the same time therefore allowing me to compassionately provide advice where I can. I’ve not done any voluntary work before YouthNet and found it was a very nurturing place to start as I never felt alone or unable to do anything.

Our thanks to Lauren for her blog and continued support. YouthNet works with 263 volunteers who support us in all areas of our services. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, take a look at our current opportunities or get in touch via volunteer@youthnet.org

Volunteers’ Week: Sharing our stories

News Uncategorized

To celebrate Volunteers Week (1 to 7 June) we asked some of amazing YouthNet volunteers to share their thoughts on why they volunteer.

Here, Gareth Milner tells us about his time as a volunteer…

I currently undertake moderation of the online ‘forum/message board’ at TheSite.org, an extremely valuable online resource for those aged 16-25, run by the charity YouthNet. I first started as a user of YouthNet’s services and subsequently developed into a volunteer.

My involvement with YouthNet began over 10 years ago. I’ve known and seen many staff come and go, yet there has always been dedication amongst them all – past and present – to provide sheer excellence in terms of supporting young people in a modern and fast moving society.

In the past I have used holiday time from work – I’m a soon to be former soldier – to help out at YouthNet’s office in central London, in addition to volunteering in a virtual online capacity. During my volunteering I’ve assisted with various working groups and projects to improve and develop services provided by YouthNet.

During a quiet period of downtime in 2012, I was even able to moderate the community message boards from a laptop in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

YouthNet and its services helped me when I needed support, the peer based support element is invaluable. TheSite isn’t just about solving problems or issues people feel they have, there are also several fact sheets and information pages.

I continue helping as a volunteer to improve and advance the work that YouthNet undertake with TheSite, primarily because I recognise the value that YouthNet and TheSite provides young people.

In an increasingly interconnected world, online peer support and advice is paramount to enable young people to find the help they need and want. The commitment of YouthNet’s core staff combined with the enthusiasm of its army of volunteers provides something akin to magic.

Whilst I can only speak with authority about my own experiences, volunteering with YouthNet – to me – is about giving something back to help that magic continue. For volunteers within this fine organisation, it’s hard to feel anything other than a sense of selfless commitment towards a charity investing so heavily in the future of a generation.

Our thanks to Gareth for his blog and continued support. YouthNet works with 263 volunteers who support us in all areas of our services. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, take a look at our current opportunities or get in touch via volunteer@youthnet.org

 

Volunteers’ Week: Sharing our stories- Cheryl

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To celebrate Volunteers Week (1 to 7 June) we asked some of amazing YouthNet volunteers to share their thoughts on why they volunteer.

Here’s Cheryl’s blog…

Hey, my name is Cheryl and my role within YouthNet is a relationship advisor (in training). I give people between the ages of 16-25 advice on their relationships which they are having issues with. They can ask questions freely on Ask a Question and I will reply back to them within three working days. I can also write on the discussion boards and start topics of conversation between users. I started this role in March of this year. I study Psychology at the moment and thought this would be a great opportunity to get involved with helping people in their day to day lives. I felt it would be really great experience to reflect on further down the line. I have learnt to be very impartial with certain types of situation and try to see both sides when you only have half of the story in front of you. It has really enhanced my listening skills and writing skills also.

At the beginning of this year I had started volunteering with Kids Company – a charity which helps vulnerable children. I have been working in a school for a few months now voluntarily helping the children with school work in class and also running the girls football club at lunch time, I have also started a befriending role with Mind, a mental health organisation.

Our thanks to Cheryl for her blog and continued support. YouthNet works with 263 volunteers who support us in all areas of our services. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, take a look at our current opportunities or get in touch via volunteer@youthnet.org

Self-harm blog week: Keeping the conversation going

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Self-harm: you are not alone

All this week we have been sharing a series of blogs by young people and professionals with experience of self-harm in the lead up to Self-harm Awareness Day (1st March 2014).

Our focus on self-harm this week has been part of a campaign to raise awareness about the key situations and feelings that lead young people to self-harm and share some thoughts and experiences on different coping techniques or distractions.

As part of our joint charity survey we asked young people what messages about self-harm they’d like to share with the world. We received almost 3,000.

Here are just a few:

“We are all fighting our own battles and we are all strong enough to win. We just need to believe.”

“There’s no shame in seeking help- it’s better to talk to someone instead of keeping it all inside.”

“Parents-don’t expect your child to know all the answers to your questions, they probably don’t know themselves. Just listen.”

“People who self-harm aren’t doing it for attention, that’s the last thing they want, they just want someone to talk to and help.”

We will be supporting a self-harm Sunday Surgery special with
Radio 1 this Sunday, 2 March- tune in from 9pm.

Self-harm: Youth charities reveal bullying and loneliness as a major trigger

Media releases News Uncategorized

Self-harm: you are not alone
A recent poll, conducted for Self-harm Awareness Day, reveals that one in four young people who self-harm started due to bullying, with 61 per cent saying they do it because they feel alone.

ChildLine, Selfharm.co.uk, YouthNet and YoungMinds have collaborated once again in support of Self-harm Awareness Day (1st March). To help understand the key reasons why young people begin to self-harm, the charities conducted a survey* and received an overwhelming response from almost 4,000 young people aged 25 and under.

Feeling ‘alone’ and being ‘bullied’ were highlighted as the key triggers that lead young people to self-harm for the first time. One in four of respondents named ‘bullying’ as the biggest reason for hurting themselves and 61 per cent of respondents said that the event leading them to self-harm had made them feel ‘alone’. More than 38 per cent of respondents admitted that, other than online, they had never spoken to anyone about their self-harming.

Each year, the charities see increased demand for services as more and more young people are trying to reach out for support. ChildLine alone have seen a staggering 41 per cent increase in counselling sessions where self-harm was mentioned.
When asked about their coping techniques, respondents rated ‘listening to music’ (45 per cent) as the best way to stop themselves from harming. This was followed by ‘talking to friends and family’ (15 per cent), which coupled with the admission that 38 per cent have never spoken to anyone about their self-harm, highlights the increasing importance of breaking taboos around this issue and encouraging people to talk more openly.

Rachel Welch from Selfharm.co.uk, speaking on behalf of the charities said: “Really tackling the issue of self-harm among young people means not only recognising the situations and feelings that lead them to take this path but also ensuring that those in a position to help them recognise the early signs of self-harm and how best to support them.”

“Young people themselves can also be a source of support for each other. As part of the survey, we asked young people to tell us their distraction or coping techniques and share their own messages to raise awareness of self-harm and break some of the common myths. We received a fantastic response and will be sharing these messages via our websites and social media for a week after Self-harm Awareness Day.”

Sharing her own message in support of others affected by self-harm, Becky, an 18 year old who volunteers for selfharm.co.uk said: “By bringing self-harm into the light and speaking about it openly we send an important message: ‘You are not alone, help is always out there and there is always hope’.”

Rachel continued: “Many young people told us that they wanted people to know their self-harm wasn’t about attention seeking. It’s so sad that young people are facing this stigma and being labelled rather than getting the support they need.”

The charities want everyone to be able to recognise the initial signs of self-harm and support young people to know that they are not alone. You can find out more about the campaign on each of the charities’ websites or by follow their campaign on Twitter via #selfharmawarenessday.

*ENDS*
Notes to Editors

*Charity Survey – From December 2013 to February 2014, ChildLine, Selfharm.co.uk, YouthNet and YoungMinds hosted a self-selecting online survey to ask young people about their experiences of self-harm.

When young people gave us reasons for hurting themselves for the first time, the most frequent were:

Bullying (25%)
Family relationships (17%)
Pressure to do well at school (14%)
Emotional abuse (11%)
Friendships (11%)

When asked about the feelings that first led to them hurting themselves, young people cited feeling:
Alone (61%)
Numb/empty (46%)
Sad (41%)
Angry (36%)
Out of control (34%)

Further information available from: emma.motherwell@youthnet.org.
Self-harm Awareness Day (1st March 2014) is a global awareness day aimed at breaking down some of the myths and stereotypes around self-harm and raising awareness about the support available to people. This is the fourth year that ChildLine, Selfharm.co.uk, YouthNet and YoungMinds have come together to ensure young people experiencing self-harm have access to information, support and advice whenever and wherever they need it.
Case studies for press and media interviews are available on request.
Media Enquiries:
YouthNet media contact: Emma Motherwell, emma.motherwell@youthnet.org or tel: 020 7250 5779, 07766 660 755
About the Charities/Services:
ChildLine offers children and young people aged 19 and under free, confidential advice and support 24 hours a day – no problem is too big or small. Our trained volunteer counsellors can be contacted through our helpline 0800 1111 or on www.childline.org.uk for online chat or email.
Selfharm.co.uk is a safe, pro-recovery website that supports young people who self-harm. It also offers training for parents, carers and professionals equipping them to handle disclosure and provide effective support.
YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. YoungMinds provides a Parents’ Helpline for any adult concerned about the mental health or wellbeing of a child or young person. 0808 802 5544 or www.youngminds.org.uk
YouthNet is the leading online charity behind TheSite.org, the online guide to life for 16-25 year olds. TheSite.org provides essential, straight-talking, anonymous advice to young people about the issues affecting their lives. 0207 520 5700 www.youthnet.org/ www.thesite.org

Self-harm blog week: Music is my distraction

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All this week YouthNet are sharing a series of blogs by young people and professionals with experience of self-harm in the lead up to Self-harm Awareness Day (1st March 2014).

Here, Claire (25) talks about how music can be a great distraction when she feels the urge to self-harm.

For me personally music takes me to another place it lets me escape the thoughts in my head and allows me to stop thinking about things for a while.

I often make different playlists to help through different points in my life. When I am feeling happy I will make a playlist of some really upbeat songs and then when I don’t feel too happy, I will make a playlist full of songs that have uplifting lyrics that help me feel a bit stronger. I also feel like I can connect with the lyrics of songs and how words can really lift your mood.

Music is also a good distraction for me personally because it helps me to feel myself. By this I mean that I don’t have to pretend to be somebody else, I can put my ipod on and just be myself, without having to pretend I am okay. Music is powerful and it helps me express my feelings and thoughts.

Music can also be shared and his can be a positive activity because it keeps people distracted and it can be a way of expressing how you’re feeling. It provides a platform for people to get chatting about music and sharing what they’re into.

Distractions

There are lots of distractions out there that young people could find helpful. It depends on the young person because everybody is unique. There are immediate distractions, that help people in the moment when they need to be distracted, and there are also long term distractions that could also help in the long run.

Immediate distractions could include, doing some drawing, or some knitting, both of these activities help to keep your hands busy and also distract you because you are focusing on something else, your drawing and also the pattern your knitting, and you will also have something to show at the end of the activity. Reading is also a good distraction, because it could take you away from the situation and you can concentrate on your book, and almost go to another place while you’re reading, you can feel totally absorbed in the storyline and forget about things for a while. It could also include having an elastic band on your wrist and pinging it whenever you want to hurt yourself, this will give you the sensation of pain, but won’t cause any permanent damage to your body.

Long term distractions could include, going to the gym or going for a walk, again both these distractions can help in the long term, going to the gym can help because it keeps you healthy and also exercise is a great way to lift your mood. Going for a walk also helps because being outside in the fresh air gives us more energy, as well as a space to reflect positively on things. I enjoy going on walks and it gives me time to think and just clear my head when I am feeling a bit down. It is also helpful, because you’re not sitting there on your own thinking things through over and over. Some other long term distractions could include cooking and going swimming.

With any distractions it’s important that people find what works for them, and helps them to feel good. Not everybody is the same. This is very important because distractions are very important and they do help a lot. So don’t give up on distractions it can sometimes take a while to find what works for you, but it is so worth it when you find something that helps you.

Our thanks to Claire for sharing her story. Further information and support for self-harm is available on TheSite.

You may also want to check out the playlists and support on Madly In Love– a place where young people share how they feel about sex, love and mental health.

Self-harm Awareness Day (1 March) is a global awareness day aimed at breaking down some of the myths and stereotypes around self-harm and raising awareness about the support available to people. This is the fourth year that ChildLine, Selfharm.co.uk, YouthNet and YoungMinds have come together to ensure young people experiencing self-harm have access to information, support and advice whenever and wherever they need it.
Follow #selfharmawarenessday on 1 March.

Self-harm blog week: “You’re not alone”

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All this week YouthNet are sharing a series of blogs by young people and professionals with experience of self-harm in the lead up to Self-harm Awareness Day (1st March 2014).

Here, Rachel Welch, Programme Director for Selfharm.co.uk shares her insights and experiences.

Being asked to give some thoughts on self-harm got me thinking. That might sound weird given it’s essentially what I do for a living, but I wanted to do this justice and figure out what it is I want you to hear. One of the most common cries I hear is that there is no one to tell, no one will listen, no one will ever understand.

So here’s my message: Struggling with self-harm makes you no different to anyone else. You are not alone.

And here’s why.

As a society we seem to spend our time trying to tread a fine line between being an individual, while at the same still fitting in with those around us. You are expected to conform at home or at school and blend in to the community at a time of life when you’re actually trying to figure out who you are and what makes you unique. We become people pleasers by building up a wall that stops others from getting too close to us and discovering who we really are underneath.

In the midst of self-harm it is magnified a hundred times over, because on the one hand we find ourselves trying to satisfy difficult urges and uncomfortable emotions, while pretending to those around us that there’s nothing wrong. What’s happening on the inside is often so very different to what we let people see on the outside. It’s hard work, it’s painful and it can be incredibly lonely. We sit behind man-made barriers that tell us there is no one to tell, no one to listen and no one to understand.

Of course, what we forget is that while we’re frantically trying to juggle ‘normal life’ with the struggles of self-harm, everyone else is doing the same thing with their own issues.  Your best mate might not struggle with self-harm, but he or she will still have anxieties and fears that they’d rather not let you or anyone else see. Your mum, your dad, your teacher, the girl on the bus, the guy with the quirky haircut… they all have their own barriers propped around them reminding them to be themselves… but not too much.

Self-harm doesn’t actually make you any different to anyone else. The thing you hold inside, scared of revealing to others might be a different shape to the next person, but we are all balancing on the same see-saw. Maybe if we take a risk, throw caution to the wind and knocked down the barriers we might become a less lonely society of people.

I’ll leave you with this quote from Jim Morrison from The Doors…

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”

Our thanks to Rachel from Selfharm.co.uk for sharing her insights.

Selfharm.co.uk is a safe, pro-recovery website that supports young people who self-harm. It also offers training for parents, carers and professionals equipping them to handle disclosure and provide effective support.

Self-harm Awareness Day (1 March) is a global awareness day aimed at breaking down some of the myths and stereotypes around self-harm and raising awareness about the support available to people. This is the fourth year that ChildLine, Selfharm.co.uk, YouthNet and YoungMinds have come together to ensure young people experiencing self-harm have access to information, support and advice whenever and wherever they need it.
Follow #selfharmawarenessday on 1 March.

 

 

 

Self-harm blog week: Helping young men to get support

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All this week YouthNet are sharing a series of blogs by young people and professionals with experience of self-harm in the lead up to Self-harm Awareness Day (1st March 2014).

Here, Jay talks about supporting young men who experience self-harm.  You can read Jay’s blog of his personal experiences as part of our Madly in Love campaign, here.

I’m writing this blog as somebody who has struggled with self-harm for over ten years: every year self-harm awareness day receives more attention, but there is still a long way to go.

There’s a lot of research out there about self-harm; statistics show that the UK has one of the highest rates in Europe. We know that it is particularly prevalent among young people, and it is generally thought that more girls self-harm than boys. However, self-harm is a very difficult thing to research accurately, because so many people keep it secret. This is even more the case for young men, who are less likely to open up about their emotional and mental lives.

So what do we actually know about young men who harm themselves?

The biggest difference, it seems, is that males are far less likely to seek help following self-harming. This includes general support, such as seeing their GP or using internet support forums, but also necessary physical treatment. Young men are less likely to go to hospital (even for serious cuts or overdoses), and if they do go, they are more likely to claim it was an accident. This is very concerning, not just because of the physical risk, but because they will not have a chance to talk about their problems or get support for their mental health.

Like females who self-harm, most males harm themselves to reduce emotional pain or distress.  However, research suggests that males tend to use self-harm as a last resort for coping with difficulties in their lives. As a result, they are more likely to use drugs or alcohol at the same time, or hurt themselves using violent methods. Despite this, they may not see self-harm as a problem. In fact, a lot of young men say they harm themselves in order to fit in with their friends. This is a really big deal: not only are young men more likely to keep their problems quiet until they reach breaking point, they may actually think it is okay to self-harm because their peers accept it.

But does any of this mean we should support men who self-harm differently from women? In many respects, it doesn’t. Most things which can be done to support those who self-harm do not depend on whether the person is male, female, transgender or otherwise. Such things might include telling the person that you do not judge them, letting them contact you when they are struggling, or providing them with ideas to distract themselves from self-harm.

However, it is key to bear in mind that a young man may feel less able to open up or see their self-harm as a problem. This does not mean encouraging them to quit self-harming before they feel ready, or telling them that what they are doing is wrong. It just means encouraging them that it is okay to talk, and emphasising how important it is to get treatment for self-harm. Knowing where to turn for help can be a long process for anybody, and for young men, the road to recovery may have a few more obstacles in the way.  However, by simply being kind and encouraging openness, hopefully those obstacles can be broken down a little quicker.

 

With thanks to Jay for sharing his insights. More information and support for young people experience self-harm is available on TheSite.

Self-harm Awareness Day (1 March) is a global awareness day aimed at breaking down some of the myths and stereotypes around self-harm and raising awareness about the support available to people. This is the fourth year that ChildLine, Selfharm.co.uk, YouthNet and YoungMinds have come together to ensure young people experiencing self-harm have access to information, support and advice whenever and wherever they need it.
Follow #selfharmawarenessday on 1 March.

Self-harm blog week: Breaking the silence

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All this week YouthNet are sharing a series of blogs by young people and professionals with experience of self-harm in the lead up to Self-harm Awareness Day (1st March 2014).

Image posed by models

Here, Charlotte (21) interviews Rosie* (23) about her experiences of self-harm.

Charlotte says, Rosie and I have decided to write a joint blog about self-harming. As the interviewer my job should be the easier of the two but, staring at a blank page, I start to wonder where to begin. What should I ask? What shouldn’t I ask? Why I am worrying about it so much? Well, I suppose it’s because like a lot of people I’m nervous about asking the wrong thing or being inadequate at giving support when I find out the answers. Sadly, I think, that’s the roadblock in many important conversations. It takes courage to answer the questions; it takes bravery to ask them. In all this doubt that’s the only thing I know for sure.

Actually that’s not true.

I know that Rosie has courage. That inspires me to be brave.

Charlotte: What form did/does your self-harming take?

Rosie: It ranged from taking painkillers to alcohol and cutting.

Charlotte: Do you know why you self-harm? Is it something that you can explain?

Rosie: Explaining why is always going to be difficult because sometimes
the reasons for your self- harm are unclear to you. It can take a long time to
understand.

The intention for me to self-harm was a form of ‘punishment’ to myself for what I perceived as my own failings in all the different roles I have taken on through my life; a sister, a girlfriend, a friend, a daughter or a future daughter in law. I felt I needed to release the emotional pain that overwhelmed me 24 hours a day, which always left me questioning why I couldn’t commit to university, why my marks continued to slip, why I refused to be comforted by friends and family and why my heart felt it was repeatedly being stamped on from the ending of my first relationship. I couldn’t understand why I was in certain positions, how my world literally had done a complete 360 leaving me at continual war with myself.

The pure content of all my emotions was impossible to handle and I felt, almost in the strangest way I needed to release it physically. I would draw myself in a complete out of state mind with painkillers and alcohol leaving me nearly numb, which is when I would physically cut myself and drift into a bitter-sweet sleep. That for me was my peace from the world as I knew it. Waking up in a tear soaked pillow and realising I had escaped from feeling this way for a few hours was joyous, but once awake and resuming back to normal life the self-infliction started all over again.

Charlotte: Have you told others that you self-harm? If so who did you tell and how did they react?

Rosie: I would always wear long sleeved tops and pretty much never showed my body in anything. Sometimes my Mum would notice my wrists but I would say I had a rash and would conceal cuts with make-up.

It was around six months later I decided I needed to seek support and I found solace with the counselling services at my University. Even with the tranquil environment I still felt like a patient, and it was only until my third session did I begin to share and see that things started to change. The reaction I received was the most shocking. It wasn’t pity and it wasn’t trying to remedy me into a new ‘normal’ person. It was comforting words, words that would sit in my mind and crop up after the session kindly forcing me to question what I was doing. It was the use of imagery she used, not the comparison of pain or circumstances but to make me re-think things in my head (strange because all I did was think!). She listened in a way that made me feel love for myself again.

Charlotte: What’s the best way for someone to support you?

Rosie: Listening to the bottled up emotions and understanding that this
(no matter how temporary) is a reflection truly of what I am going through is
the best support I received. The next step is speaking to you with no judgement or pity but instead helping you question why you are in this state of mind.

Charlotte: One of the myths about self-harm is that it is ‘a phase’ or ‘attention seeking’. Why do you think these stereotypes have come about and what would you say to someone who accused you of these things?

Rosie: To say someone’s self-harm is a phase or a way of attention seeking is completely irrelevant to what can be one the most difficult times in somebody’s life. How do you know the person self harming doesn’t question their own actions? How do you know how real this is to them? Your judgement impairs on how you will treat that person and possibly impact that person in a way that can worsen their situation. Self-harm is completely individual and is a reflection of that person’s trauma and experience. It is nothing anybody can completely understand and, with that being said, it deserves respect and sensitivity regardless of anybody’s reserved judgements and feelings.

Charlotte: Do you think that having a more open dialogue about self-harm would help to change these attitudes?

Rosie: YES – It must be spoken about if we want anything to change. Having an open dialogue could bridge an understanding between those who feel isolated through self-harming and those who have judgements about it.

Charlotte: What advice would you give to someone who self-harms?

Rosie: Find something about yourself you love … look at photos, memories, journals, diaries, birthday cards, personal messages. It doesn’t have to be something you perceive as big as building a school for a third world country, it can be tiny-  like if you’ve made a friend laugh when they were on the verge of tears or you’ve made a cake for your Mum’s birthday (even if it is a cake mix!). Whatever it is, hold on to it and say these five things:

1.      I am valuable in this world and there is no other me (we are all unique!)

2.      I want to love myself because somebody in this world loves me (they do!)

3.      I am more than self-harm; I can have dreams, goals and ambitions (you can make your life!)

4.  I want to help save myself so I can have a healthier life (everything can and does get even a little better!)

5. I am not alone (there is so much support out there, the hardest thing
is reaching out for it)

A note from the interviewer, Charlotte:

I have taken many things from what we have discussed but something which especially resonated for me was the importance of ‘having an open dialogue could bridge an understanding’. I believe the conversation that we have had here is an invaluable part of building those foundations whose aim is to create a mutually trusting, compassionate and informed dialogue.

Above all I hope that our blog will encourage others to have these kinds of discussions and that, in doing so, people might find support which may otherwise have been lost in silence.

*Name has been changed.

Our thanks to Charlotte and ‘Rosie’ for sharing their personal insights and experiences. More information and support for self-harm is available on TheSite.

Self-harm Awareness Day (1 March) is a global awareness day aimed at breaking down some of the myths and stereotypes around self-harm and raising awareness about the support available to people. This is the fourth year that ChildLine, Selfharm.co.uk, YouthNet and YoungMinds have come together to ensure young people experiencing self-harm have access to information, support and advice whenever and wherever they need it.

Follow #selfharmawarenessday on 1 March.