I thought for this blog post, I would shed a little light on my Harmless journey. I think what intrigued me the most about Harmless was how afraid I was around the thought of helping someone in suicide crisis, or even mentioning the word “suicide”, like it was a swear word. I was worried about saying the wrong thing or making things worse. I was educated around suicide from the stigma that generates from it, because that is the information that was easily accessible to me, and no one talked about it in any other way. So, I said to myself, you’re never going to learn unless you try and apply for job. So, I applied and a month later I was part of the Nottinghamshire Crisis Sanctuaries supporting those in an evening service with their mental health. I remember my first shift listening to all these incredible workers around me. They were so full of knowledge and so calm. I think I must have asked “How do you know what to say?”, “How do you not panic?” about 20 times, to which I always got “You will learn, trust yourself”. I was a nervous wreck thinking “Are you crazy, I’m never going to be able to do this!”; yet now I sit here typing this a year later as a full member of the suicide crisis team, supporting 15 clients a week. Who knew! (My colleagues did!)
I have already learnt so much in this time. Harmless has so much knowledge to share and experiences to learn from. I love how I can now educate others around suicide and self-harm; to help people understand that those in crisis aren’t always looking for you to have the right answers, but to have a listening and caring ear.
I guess the message of this post is to not be afraid of not knowing the answers, but having the willingness to learn. Suicide needs to be spoken about, do not be shy to learn about these topics or to ask questions. The stigma needs to be broken because it is not healthy. Even for someone like myself, who has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a masters in Mental Health, I was still none the wiser. But I have learnt, and trust me I have much more to learn, but together we can encourage others to learn, challenge the stigma and ultimately, help those in need.