Support at Harmless
Harmless is a user led organisation that provides a range of services about self harm and suicide prevention including support, information, training and consultancy to people who self harm, their friends and families and professionals and those at risk of suicide.
Harmless was set up by people who understand these issues and at the heart of our service is a real sense of hope. We know that with the right support and help life can get better. We hope that you find this site a safe and helpful resource.
Feel free to look around and we welcome your thoughts and feedback about our site and services.
Self Harm & Suicide Prevention Services
Harmless now deliver a range of services and also deliver The Tomorrow Project. In the last ten years we have delivered contracted and funded work for a variety of providers, but are largely self-funded through the selling of training etc. This enables us to preserve long-term and compassionate help for all those that need us.
We provide drop-in, crisis café, short and long-term support and psychotherapy. Under The Tomorrow Project we additionally deliver suicide crisis and bereavement services.
For more information or to volunteer your time and fundraising skills to keep these vital services going, please contact us.
The Harmless Approach
We believe in hope and recovery. We place people with lived experience at the heart of our service, ensuring that we deliver a broad range of service options to meet a variety of needs. Working across age and gender we do our very best to surround the people we help with compassion and practical help and support.
Welcome to the team Leanne @letstalknlearn https://t.co/RkGwWqdps2
Introducing our new @letstalknlearn team member Janet: https://t.co/GfdImLUw3u
Meet our new team member and self-harm therapist, Aaren: https://t.co/jfBaC9RYpF
Available in either electronic or hard copy, Harmless have developed this workbook in collaboration with service users, therapists and the Institute of Mental Health to provide a tool that can be used to promote recovery and self reflection amongst people that self harm, encouraging alternative methods of coping.
For more information, or to find out how to buy our workbook, please follow this link.
Out of Harm's Way. Through the eyes of those with first hand experience, we examine the nature of self harm, distress and recovery. A resource both for those that self harm and for professionals.
For more information, or to find out how to buy our DVD, please follow this link.
Art therapy has a “clear effect” on severe depression, helping some people to get back to work after time off, new research suggests. During the research, conducted by Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, 43 patients with “severe” or “moderately severe” depression underwent an art therapy course. Meanwhile a control group of 36 people with depression and symptoms of the same level did not take part in art therapy. Activities within the therapy sessions included instructions such as: “create a picture of how you are feeling on this particular day.” After 10 art therapy sessions, the patients who suffered from severe or moderately severe depression had shown more improvement than the patients in the control group, the researchers concluded. According to the researchers the majority of the participants were so affected by their depression that they were unable to work at the start of the study. The individual art therapy took place in psychiatry or primary care and was conducted by a specially trained therapist. Each session began with a short briefing and a relaxation exercise. After that participants created artwork with crayons and water colours. “The materials were simple, allowing people to doodle and feel free to express themselves the way they wanted to, and then they would talk about the picture and its significance,” Christina Blomdahl, PhD at the institute of health and care sciences and licensed occupational therapist and art therapist, explained. After 10 hour-long treatment sessions the patients had improved on an average of almost five steps on a rating scale used for depression. Blomdah said this represents a large leap that entails a “considerable” change to everyday life, and sometimes it may also mean that a patient is able to return to work. Anxiety, sleep, ability to take initiative and emotional involvement are some of the factors that are assessed. In the control group that had not undergone art therapy there was no definite change. “The conclusion is that it was the art therapy that facilitated their improvement,” Blomdah said. “Painting pictures based on themes and discussing the pictures with the therapist promotes self-reflection and brain stimulation that takes place outside of the conscious mind.” Although Blomdahl’s study was based on adults, Mary-Rose Brady, director of operations at the British Association of Art Therapists, previously told HuffPost UK art therapy can be particulalry useful for children struggling with mental ill health. “We know that children who can’t understand or name their feelings are more likely to ‘act them out’, so art therapy can provide relief to a child whose only previous option was to dissolve into tears or have an angry outburst in response to overwhelming feelings,” she said. “Art materials enable children to externalise troubling or confusing emotions, giving them form and enabling them to make links between thoughts, feelings and behaviours, perhaps for the first time.” Debbie Thwaites, founder of art therapy charity Shine Again, explained how this works. “One young boy I saw just wanted to paint poo,” she said. “He wasn’t able to say ‘this person is making me feel like poo’, but he was able to get all the brown and black colours out, make a big mess and say ‘that’s what I feel like’.” Based on the recent findings, Blomdahl hopes that art therapy will be used more extensively in healthcare. “Based on evidence requirements it has been more or less scrapped by psychiatry, but this is one of the largest studies that has been conducted in this area,” she said. “It is a step that may lead to more people being trained in it and the method being used again.” https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2017/11/09/art-therapy-has-clear-effect-on-severe-depression-research-finds_a_23271644/?utm_hp_ref=uk-art-therapy
‘But I’m not artistic’: how teachers shape kids’ creative development Many adults believe they are not artistic and feel nervous about visual art. They vividly recall the moment when a teacher or family member discouraged their efforts to creatively express their ideas through drawing or art-making. Such early childhood experiences can affect developing confidence and learning potential throughout a child’s education and into adulthood. If preschool educators lack the visual art knowledge and confidence to provide valuable art experiences, children’s potential to creatively express their ideas using visual symbols may be restricted. Creative thinking and the ability to make meaning in many ways is the key to success in the 21st century. And in a world that values creative thinking it is concerning that children’s creative growth may be stifled even before they go to school. The right to creativity The Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 31) states that children of all ages have the right to access and fully participate in cultural and artistic life. We know that the early childhood years lay the foundation for all future creative learning and development. That’s why it should worry us that some children may not have access to high-quality visual art education. American educational scholar Elliot Eisner refers to this as the null curriculum – the learning that children miss out on when educators lack the subject knowledge, skills and self-confidence to deliver enriching visual art experiences. The personal and professional beliefs of educators directly impact what and how they teach children. If an educator’s fear of art stifles a child’s individual learning style at a young age, this may prevent them from reaching their full potential later on. How much play goes on in pre-school? But aren’t the walls of early childhood centres plastered with children’s paintings and drawings? No doubt most people assume that preschools, more than any other education setting, provide creative environments and experiences that best support children’s artistic learning and potential. But this is not always the case. Many early childhood educators lack the self-belief, skills and knowledge needed to provide quality visual arts experiences. They struggle to provide the types of experiences that support young children to access the many benefits of making visual art. Visual art experiences enhance young children’s learning and development in many ways. These include intrinsic motivation, enjoyment, positive attitudes, cognitive problem solving, self-discipline, the development of tools for communication and meaning-making and fostering creativity and imagination, to name just a few. In fact learner-centred environments like those you expect to find in early childhood services can increase children’s creativity scores. Creative teachers The problem is that these benefits only exist when effective, quality provisions are made by teachers. The research that I am doing at the University of Wollongong is tackling this problem. I am finding that many early childhood educators doubt their own visual art knowledge and ability to deliver visual art experiences to children. While educators value art as a central part of the early childhood curriculum, their beliefs about the purposes of art are confused. Some see art activities as a way to keep children busy. Others use art as a form of therapy or fine-motor development instead of as a tool for communication, problem-solving, and meaning making. At the same time, the experiences offered to children in the name of art often consist of adult-directed crafts and activity sheets – instead of creative and open-ended use of quality art materials. A lack of content knowledge, art skills and confidence causes educators to justify the use of gimmicky commercial materials like glitter, pipe-cleaners and fluorescent feathers. They believe these materials are more fun for children. Some educators believe they should actively teach children by modelling and demonstrating visual art skills. But others maintain an outdated hands-off approach and refuse to demonstrate art skills for fear of corrupting children’s natural artistic development. What is most concerning is that few early childhood educators recall the arts-based components of their pre-service training. The place of the arts in the Australian school curriculum continues to be threatened and hotly debated. At the same time, references to the visual arts in the Australian Early Years Learning Framework are unclear and provide little guidance for educators. In this context governments, universities, and skills-based courses need to re-consider the training of all educators, give them confidence to overcome the insecurities they express about their ability to teach art and to embed the arts in their teaching. British educator Ken Robinson blames formal schooling for killing off children’s creative potential. Actually, this process starts much earlier – when early childhood educators are not well trained in the artistic knowledge and mindset to nurture children’s imagination, meaning-making, and creative expression using visual art materials and methods. If educators and communities do not nurture children’s artistic creativity in the vital early childhood years, their lifelong potential for engaged creative learning is stifled. https://thesector.com.au/2019/06/12/but-im-not-artistic-how-teachers-shape-kids-creative-development/?fbclid=IwAR0P63B_c93fKsAF8j0TUSq8gHTDmzueUAQm2KFLWBsWOgVk3ifDWzNoXTo
Introducing our new self-harm therapist Arren… “I’d like to say I’m ambitious, adventurous and energetic! Others might call me cheeky. My route into counselling started through studying at the University of Nottingham in 2015. I’m passionate about supporting people through a different, ‘outside the box’ counselling technique. I like to try the unknown; something that I was able to do in my last job Counselling at a residential service for looked-after young people. I’m looking forward to supporting people on their journey to recovery, and I’m keen to break the stigma that exists with being a young, male Counsellor.” http://www.harmless.org.uk/blog/introducing-arren.html
Make a donation today! Member Login
Art therapy has a “clear effect” on severe depression, helping some people to get back to work after time off, new research suggests. During the research, conducted by Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, 43 patients w
Many adults believe they are not artistic and feel nervous about visual art. They vividly recall the moment when a teacher or family member discouraged their efforts to creatively express their ideas through drawing or art-making. Such earl