Self-Harm, what happens out of hours?

In light of Self Harm Awareness Day on Wednesday, one of the most important things we can do as individuals is develop our knowledge of self-harm. Where does it happen? When does it happen?

The answer is – people can self-harm at any time and any place. 

Mental health support is often delivered between 9am-5pm, but what about after 5pm? What happens out of hours? Does the distress go away?

Many individuals who come into the service self-harm in their own space towards the end of the day. When day-to-day activities slow down (work, school, seeing others, housework or other duties/commitments), it can leave more room for overwhelming, distressing thoughts to have a greater influence. This is a time where individuals can be most vulnerable, and really need the support.

At Harmless, we understand the urges to self-harm do not occur at the same time and sometimes this can fall outside of the 9am-5pm support (which can feel easier to reach out to).

This led us to developing our Out of Hours service.

On a Monday and Thursday evenings between 6pm-11pm, we offer emotional and practical support to anyone experiencing distress related to self-harm or suicidality in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. Clients can access a one-one session with a clinician through either telephone, text or face to face in a safe, non-judgmental environment.

Since opening, we have delivered a large amount of sessions to those who needed that support out of hours. Did their distress stop after 5pm? No – and this was why we were there to help get them through that evening.

Feedback from individuals who have used the service report without this support being accessible to them, they would’ve felt a greater need to self-harm, been in more distress, struggled to keep themselves safe and further dread the night-time.

So, the important message here is that, for some, the day finishes at 5pm after work, school etc and for others the hardest part of the day just begins. Reach out to those who may be isolated, struggling or even those who seem “okay” – you never know who may benefit from a conversation with you.