YoungMinds, The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and The Royal College of Psychiatrists have launched No Harm Done – a series of three short films about self-harm based on the experiences of young people, parents and professionals.
The films provide hope and give practical support to those affected by self-harm, and counteract the negative and frightening messages that are widely available online.
The accompanying digital packs – which are also co-created by young people, parents and professionals – aim to dispel myths, answer frequently asked questions, provide practical advice and signpost to more help and support. They will be used to spread the word in schools and in training sessions with professionals. Lucy, 18, was one of contributors to the films.
She said: “I got involved with this project alongside other young people who have ‘been there’ with self-harm. It is scary and isolating and it often feels like there is no way out. The aim of No Harm Done is to reassure those affected by self-harm that things can and do improve – it can be hard work, and it might feel worse before it gets better, but coming out on the other side is so worth it.”
Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, said: “No Harm Done is a response to the powerful cry for help from young people, parents and professionals, who have told us just how difficult dealing with self-harm is. These films are not intended to shock, but rather to show the reality of what is all too often a misunderstood subject. “Self-harm is surrounded in guilt, shame and mystery for all parties. Young people tell us that they feel isolated and alone. Parents often confide that they feel it’s their fault their child is harming themselves. Teachers tell us they see the signs but cannot bring themselves to say anything, and even if they want to, they can’t find the words to reach out to young people.”
Dr Pooky Knightsmith, Director: Children, Young People and Schools Programme of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, said: “Staff working with young people will often spot signs of self-harm but feel unsure what to do or say next. Using real stories of self-harm and recovery, our videos and accompanying packs enable those crucial first steps and conversations which can be life-changing for the young people concerned.”
Dr Helen Rayner from the Royal College of Psychiatrists said: “Between 10% and 20% of adolescents are thought to self-harm. This causes a huge amount of distress in all those who are touched by this. Young people are growing up in a stressful environment with increasing demands to perform academically and socially. Social networking can also lead to pressures from bullying to worries about friendship groups. Young people can feel more isolated and alone and can turn to self-harm as a destructive coping strategy.”
The films were launched at an event at Latymer School in London on Thursday 25th February, where young people spoke about their experiences and Natasha Devon chaired a question and answer session with young people, a parent, a former teacher and a psychiatrist.
Watch the films: