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’Write a letter to someone you’re angry with (hurt by etc.) saying how you feel (No need to send it.)

 

Write a list of your achievements

 

Write a letter to yourself saying ‘I love YOU because….’

 

Make a list of things you’re thankful for

 

Make a wish list

Talk about it with a friend or crisis support line….                            

Allow yourself to cry (if you can)

Using your Creativity

 

Draw / paint / collage / paper mache / finger paint / sculpt in clay -  to express what you want to do or what you are feeling Write a poem / story / song / joke / autobiography / parody / musical Write a diary / journal or read old diaries (unless there might be triggers) Go to myspace.com and write an online journal Scribble a word again and again to say how you’re feeling e.g. ‘lonely’, ‘angry’ Deface a magazine (preferably your own) Paint with red paint using your fingers Write a message in a self-harm newsgroup on the internet Take some photos Play an instrument / Sing to music as loud as you can Put on music which expresses how you are feeling Write out the soundtrack to your life if it were a film Imagine a colour which expresses your feelings then change it in your mind to another colour Make a memory box / scrapbook  Write an alternative ending to a story Watch a foreign language channel and make up your own interpretations  Create your own cartoon characters / legends Create a secret code

 

Pamper yourself.

Pampering ourselves covers a vast expanse of pleasurable activities from stuffing ourselves full of comfort food to simply stuffing each other. Be it lazing in hot baths/showers. Snuggling up in a cool bed. Aromatherapy. Massage. Chocolate. Whatever it takes to pamper yourself (and as long as it is legal) do it.

 

Have an ‘emergency box’ with whatever helps you cope. Buy something special. Massage your hands / arms / feet (or the area you want to harm). Stroke a pet / cuddle a teddy. Smoke a cigarette. Ask a friend to hold you. Paint your nails / Have your hair done. Have a cup of tea. Rock / hug yourselfGive yourself a henna tattoo. Meditate / yoga

DO SOMETHING

Doing nothing is not helpful. Look around you, there is always something that needs to be done. If you don’t want to do that - fine – do something else, but do something. This covers just about everything from watching  TV to climbing the Alps. Looking at constellations to swimming in the nude.Be Productive

 

Catch up on DIY / housework. Cook/bake something. Have a clear out – give your old stuff to charity. Re-arrange your room/decorate. Read  /  study. Give your pets a bath. Volunteer somewhere. Join a class

Think about what you’d like to change about your life and makeReasoning with yourself

 

'When you’re not feeling like self-harming, write a list of reasons to avoid self-harm. The list will be different for each person - it's whatever makes sense to you.  Look at the list when you feel like harming yourself.  It could include things like:

 

Learn CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) techniques.  http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinformation.aspx

 

1.    When you’re feeling good write yourself a letter you can read when you want to self-harm

 

2.    Write down why you do not deserve to be hurt

 

Reducing stress

Do some relaxation exercises / listen to a relaxation tape Ask a friend to look after the children for a few hours Reduce your commitments in the next few days   Rewarding yourself for not self-harming

Keep a chart – add a star for each day / hour you have not self-harmed

If you do self-harm, just leave a space and start again

 

Delaying self-harm

 

Keep things you harm yourself with in a locked cupboard or in a box with sellotape around it.  It gives you time to think between wanting to self-harm and doing it.Phone emergency support lines– arrange to ring again in an hour/ two hours and promise yourself you will not harm before then

Use any of the suggestions for avoiding self-harm to try and delay it for a while

 

Neutralising Risk:

 Making ourselves safer

 

        Try to identify the things that make us want to self-harm in the first place. 

        Once identified avoid them if possible.

        If we are unable to avoid them, prepare better coping strategies.

 

HELP LINES

Don’t suffer in silence – there are help lines out there that can offer support…

 

 

Samaritans  - Helpline 08457 90 90 90 (UK)  1850 60 90 90 (ROI)

Confidential emotional support for anyone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can also e-mail jo@samaritans.org for support, or write to ‘Chris’ P.O. Box 9090, Stirling, FK8 2SA. Some centres also offer face to face support, usually by appointment.

 

 

Bristol Crisis Service For Women (BCSW) -  Helpline 0117 925 1119

National helpline for women in distress, especially women who self-harm.  Open Friday and Saturday evenings 9 pm to 12.30 am and Sundays 6pm to 9pm. 

 

 

Support Line - 0208 554 9004

A confidential helpline providing emotional support to individuals of any age on any issue. Support line also has a data base of local services.  Ring for helpline opening hours.  You can also e-mail on infor@supportline.org.uk

 

 

Saneline - 0845 767 8000

Offers practical care and support to anybody affected by mental health problems. Open

noon to 11 pm Monday to Friday, noon to 6 pm Saturday & Sunday.

 

 

42nd Street – Helpline 0161 832 0170

A mental health service in Manchester for young people aged 14 – 25. Their helpline offers support and advice, particularly around suicide and self injury.  Open weekdays from 12.30 pm to 4.30 pm.

web: www.fortysecondstreet.org.uk

 

 

Nightline (for University students) National organisation of NightLine student helplines in Universities across the UK. Visit the website to find out if your Uni has one.

web: www.nightline.ac.uk

 

 

No Panic - Helpline 0808 808 0545
Support for people who experience panic attacks, and those with phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, general anxiety disorder and who are withdrawing from tranquillisers. (10 am-10 pm every day)

email: ceo@nopanic.org.uk, web: www.nopanic.org.uk

In technical literature the use of the terms parasuicide, or deliberate self-harm (DSH) are preferred – both of these terms avoid the question of the intent of the suicidal action.

An important difference to note is that self-harm is not a suicide attempt. There is a non-causal correlation between self-harm and suicide; individuals who suffer from depression or other mental health issues are also more likely to choose suicide. DSH is far more common than suicide, and the majority of DSH participants are females aged under 35. They are usually not physically ill and while psychological factors are highly significant, they are rarely clinically ill and severe depression is uncommon. Social issues are key – DSH is most common among those living in overcrowded conditions, in conflict with their families, with disrupted childhoods and history of drinking, criminal behavior, and violence. Individuals under these stresses become anxious and depressed and then, usually in reaction to a single particular crisis, they attempt to harm themselves. The motivation may be a desire for relief from emotional pain or to communicate feelings, although the motivation will often be complex and confused. DSH may also result from an inner conflict between the desire to end life and the desire to continue living.

 

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According to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence: ...while an individual episode of self-harm might be an attempt to end life, acts of self-harm are not always connected to attempted suicide. People may harm themselves as a way of coping with overwhelming situations or feelings. For some people, self-harm may actually be a way of preventing suicide. This can be quite difficult for other people, including doctors and nurses to understand.
 
So saying, one can hardly address the issue of coping strategies in any seriousness without acknowledging the practice of self-harm (sometimes known as parasuicide) as a coping strategy.
 
Whilst searching for coping strategies I was surprised by how often self-harm was confirmed as a means of ending, and so averting a suicidal period.
 
Surprisingly, self-harm has been said to represent extreme self restraint. However, if one is going through a life or death emotional crisis, then (I suppose) a carefully controlled self harm injury, represents the least possible amount of damage compared to death.
 
At the moment self-harmers represent  the second largest category of people admitted into UK hospitals through A&E Departments - they are numerically second only to actual accidents.  Despite the large numbers of those attending A&E Departments, it should be noted that they are only a percentage of those who (so called) 'self-harm' Edit Text

However, the whole subject of self-harm (like suicide) is clearly shrouded in ignorance. Like suicide, it bears a very heavy stigma and those that practice it will be viewed with a mixture of horror and fear by society.
 
However, as long as self-harm is perceived as a sado-masochistic ritual consisting of cutting and burning; the full reality of self harm will remain a misconception. Edit Text

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IMPORTANT WEBSITES Edit Text

IF YOU HAVE SELF-HARMED AND MAY NEED HOSPITAL ASSISTANCE PLEASE CLICK HERE Edit Link

WEBSITE OF THE SELF-INJURY, ABUSE, TRAUMA DIRECTORY. Edit Link

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Self-harm support forums Edit Text

SELF HELP FORUM FOR TEENAGERS Edit Link

SELF HELP SUPPORT COMMUNITY Edit Link

USEFUL CONTACTS INCLUDING DISCUSSION FORUMS Edit Link

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Useful sites for friends and relatives of self harmers. Edit Text

The Friends Guide to Understanding and Helping Self Harmers Edit Link

A Parent's Guide to Self-Harming. Edit Link

MATERIAL FOR THIS IMPORTANT PAGE IS CURRENTLY BEING RESEARCHED AND THIS PAGE WILL BE DEVELOPED ASAP Edit Text

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     Produced with the kind co-operation of DERBYSHIRE MIND and the NUMBER ONE COMMUNITY, Derby Edit Text

In technical literature the use of the terms parasuicide, or deliberate self-harm (DSH) are preferred – both of these terms avoid the question of the intent of the suicidal action.

An important difference to note is that self-harm is not a suicide attempt. There is a non-causal correlation between self-harm and suicide; individuals who suffer from depression or other mental health issues are also more likely to choose suicide. DSH is far more common than suicide, and the majority of DSH participants are females aged under 35. They are usually not physically ill and while psychological factors are highly significant, they are rarely clinically ill and severe depression is uncommon. Social issues are key – DSH is most common among those living in overcrowded conditions, in conflict with their families, with disrupted childhoods and history of drinking, criminal behavior, and violence. Individuals under these stresses become anxious and depressed and then, usually in reaction to a single particular crisis, they attempt to harm themselves. The motivation may be a desire for relief from emotional pain or to communicate feelings, although the motivation will often be complex and confused. DSH may also result from an inner conflict between the desire to end life and the desire to continue living.

 

 

According to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence: ...while an individual episode of self-harm might be an attempt to end life, acts of self-harm are not always connected to attempted suicide. People may harm themselves as a way of coping with overwhelming situations or feelings. For some people, self-harm may actually be a way of preventing suicide. This can be quite difficult for other people, including doctors and nurses to understand.
 
So saying, one can hardly address the issue of coping strategies in any seriousness without acknowledging the practice of self-harm (sometimes known as parasuicide) as a coping strategy.
 
Whilst searching for coping strategies I was surprised by how often self-harm was confirmed as a means of ending, and so averting a suicidal period.
 
Surprisingly, self-harm has been said to represent extreme self restraint. However, if one is going through a life or death emotional crisis, then (I suppose) a carefully controlled self harm injury, represents the least possible amount of damage compared to death.
 
At the moment self-harmers represent  the second largest category of people admitted into UK hospitals through A&E Departments - they are numerically second only to actual accidents.  Despite the large numbers of those attending A&E Departments, it should be noted that they are only a percentage of those who (so called) 'self-harm'

However, the whole subject of self-harm (like suicide) is clearly shrouded in ignorance. Like suicide, it bears a very heavy stigma and those that practice it will be viewed with a mixture of horror and fear by society.
 
However, as long as self-harm is perceived as a sado-masochistic ritual consisting of cutting and burning; the full reality of self harm will remain a misconception.


 

IMPORTANT WEBSITES

IF YOU HAVE SELF-HARMED AND MAY NEED HOSPITAL ASSISTANCE PLEASE CLICK HERE

WEBSITE OF THE SELF-INJURY, ABUSE, TRAUMA DIRECTORY.


 

Self-harm support forums

SELF HELP FORUM FOR TEENAGERS

SELF HELP SUPPORT COMMUNITY

USEFUL CONTACTS INCLUDING DISCUSSION FORUMS


 

Useful sites for friends and relatives of self harmers.

The Friends Guide to Understanding and Helping Self Harmers

A Parent's Guide to Self-Harming.

MATERIAL FOR THIS IMPORTANT PAGE IS CURRENTLY BEING RESEARCHED AND THIS PAGE WILL BE DEVELOPED ASAP


 

     Produced with the kind co-operation of DERBYSHIRE MIND and the NUMBER ONE COMMUNITY, Derby

Emotional First Aid is an attempt to produce a toolkit to take care of our emotional wounds; which (unlike physical injuries) are not immediately obvious but can fester deep inside us and can lead us into mental ill health and even suicide.

Firstly, EFA needs to be based upon you, your emotions and your emotional needs. In turn, this has to be based upon your own self-image – the way you see yourself. Not how others may see you, but how you actually see yourself. This self-awareness is of the highest importance. Because at the end of the day, your self-acceptance -or the acceptance of self - needs to be based upon your self-awareness – or awareness of self.

This self-acceptance requires us to be brutally frank with who and what we are. To accept that each of us is ultimately responsible for ourselves. Each one of us has to be our own boss. Each of us needs to understand that we have to be aware of the consequences of our own actions. Not only how it affects us but also how it will affect others. We need to understand also that we have choices, but must learn to accept the consequences of our actions. In other words we are not victims nor will we make victims of others.


One of the most common forms of self-abuse which we have a tendency to overindulge ourselves in, involves us bottling up our emotions. Swallowing pressure until we explode. We often become programmed to keep quiet, say nothing and do nothing. Which means that every time we encounter a difficult situation we react in a pre-determined way.

No matterOur will power and good intent suffocated by the mental baggage we carry from our parent's, our upbringing, environment and social position.
We become depressed because we cannot articulate our problem to others. So instead we keep talking to ourselves and end up making matters far worse - tangling our thoughts and emotions into a bewildering and totally confusing log jam.

When we are like this we can be cruel to ourselves as well. Whilst to others we can be kind, considerate and patient, to ourselves we can be a bully, victim, a persecutor and martyr.

At second aid we listen to your problems. We help you to understand why you react in the way you do and then work with you to resolve the conflict you are now prepared to admit you have.

We show you how to unravel the knotted mess of your feelings - to pull out a strand at a time, recognize the issue, deal with it and move on to the next one.

Why are we different?

We are driven by our integrity, not by money. We are concerned with your life not our own ambitions. Our approach is rooted in our spiritual beliefs and in our understanding of the ability of each of us, given guidance, to overcome any crisis that is thrown at us.

We support and encourage you until you can stand alone - then patch you up and send you off to get on with your life.

How can we help you?

Our role is to help you create a safe space within which you can start to heal yourself by learning to let go of the suppressed emotional baggage which is spoiling your life today and holding you back from all the things you want to achieve tomorrow.

If you are going through a really profound change you have to recognise it and start to co-operate with it.We'll help you to strip down the emotions and see whether they belong to you or someone else. These feelings could be of fear, anger, frustration or grief, but if they are yours they won't go away and we will help you to try to find a way to deal with them. And help you resist the temptations to try to tackle too much at once.

You are the most important person you know and the more work you do on yourself the more you will have to offer those you love and those who love you.

Making order out of chaos

Life's ingenuity in finding crisis to shatter the comfort and rhythm of our daily routines knows no bounds.

One day you can be feeling secure in yourself and your position in society - then suddenly your world can be turned upside down. It could be divorce, bereavement, or the overbearing stress of your job making you ill.

Or it could be the strain of a failing relationship or the stomach churning hurt of betrayal by an unfaithful partner. Maybe your career ambitions have collapsed because you didn't get the promotion you thought you'd been promised.

Whatever the cause, whatever the problem, the chances are that the emotions will bottle up inside you, your grief, pain or anger fusing together to make managing your daily existence seem like an impossible task.

The essence of our approach

The essence of our approach is to help you overhaul the physical, emotional and intellectual foundations of your life within a structure built to your own specification.

When you have been through, or are trying to live through a very stressful situation it is easy to lose your integrity - to sell yourself down the river or to underestimate yourself completely.

If you are totally shell-shocked we will teach you simple meditation and relaxation techniques - to enable you to re-connect to your integrity. We will help you to unravel the layers of prejudice, misconception and suppressed feelings and reveal what really lies behind your emotions. Your own belief system may have to expand or contract. Your own prejudices and bigotry may have to be acknowledged and owned rather than ignored.

You may also have to come to terms with some of your own imperfections. Perhaps you need to be supportive not nice, to work harder or aim higher. We will work with you to understand the prime message and then use the right technique to release you from it.

 

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TOP 10 TIPS FOR BUSTING STRESS

What are the secrets of dealing with stress - and of relieving it? Two experts on stress -Dr Roger Henderson, GP and medical columnist; and agony aunt Ingrid Miller - each suggest five stressbusting techniques to get you started...

First, Dr Roger Henderson with some top tips on beating stress.


1. KEEP A DIARY
Keep a list - for at least a fortnight - of events, times, places and people that seem to make you feel more stressed. You will probably be surprised to find that a pattern soon emerges; and this may be linked to

TEN 10TIPS FOR BUSTING STRESS
time pressure, personality clashes, inappropriate demands or simply trying to do too many things at once. Once you have identified your pressure points you can move on to the following solutions...

2. TALK
Talk through your diary with a good friend or your partner - even the act of discussing things often makes you feel better. Ask for impartial advice as to how to ease the problems that you have discovered, or choose the sort of stressful situations that you have identified in which to use the following relaxation techniques.

3. LEARN HOW TO RELAX
•Practise deep-breathing techniques such as slowly inhaling while counting to five; hold your breath for five seconds then breathe out slowly. Repeat this 10 times when feeling stressed, concentrating on nothing but your breathing.
•Stretch the muscles of your neck and shoulders by keeping your shoulders level and trying to touch each shoulder with your ear. Look right up at the ceiling, down at the floor and then rotate each shoulder in a wide circle. Repeat five times. Open and close your jaw widely after each time since stress often causes tenseness in the jaw area.
• Take time out. For five minutes every hour, try to 'shut down' and think of nothing but your perfect situation. This could be a dream holiday, ideal partner or simply thinking about doing nothing at all. You will be surprised at how effectively this can lower stress levels.

4. EXERCISE REGULARLY
You do not have to be a gym freak to get the stress-beating benefits of exercise. Even 20 minutes of brisk walking three times a week will help to reduce stress as well as promoting restful sleep.

5. PLAN BREAKS IN YOUR DAY
The aim here is to allow time for the unexpected (which, as we all know, will happen!). Get up 15 minutes earlier than you think you need to and prepare for the day without rushing. Even better, get things ready the night before. Try to have 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon that is exclusively 'your' time, in which you can do whatever you want, even if it is simply sitting doing nothing. Look forward to these times when things get busy and if you are unable to use them always remember to 'catch up' later on.

AND ONE THING NOT TO DO...
One approach, on the other hand, to avoid, is that of using smoking and alcohol as crutches to help you cope - in the long run they simply make stress worse. Drinking more to 'calm your nerves' is a slippery slope.

Dr Henderson is a GP and medical columnist who is a regular contributor to The Sunday Times and other national papers and magazines. His book, 'Stress Beaters - 100 Proven Ways to Manage Stress' is published by Metro Books at 7.99.


...AND FIVE MORE SIMPLE STRESS RELIEVERS

Ingrid Miller offers five handy stressbusting techniques to use in everyday situations…


1. STRETCH
Sitting upright on a chair, and keeping your back straight, extend your arms out in front of you as far as possible. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat, with your arms behind you. Then hold on to the sides of your chair and push your body upwards. Feel your spine stretch. Hold for ten. Now stretch arms to the ceiling, to release tension in back and shoulders. Relax and shake your arms.

2. USE SCENT TO IMPROVE YOUR MOOD
Certain aromas are thought to activate the production of the brain's feel-good chemical serotonin [although one recent research study suggests that the benefits claimed for aromatherapy may derive from the power of suggestion. Ed.]. Drip a few drops of the following aromatherapy oils on a tissue to sniff when you feel stress levels rising: jasmine, neroli, lavender, chamomile, vetiver, clary sage.

3. DE-CLUTTER
Mess creates confusion and a sense of loss of power. If your desk/home/car is messy and disorganised, have a good clear out and tidy up. You'll instantly feel more in control.

4. CHANGE THE HABIT
Many stresses are habitual. If you start to feel anxious or stressed out, do something out of character. Stop what you're doing and do something else. Or take a minute to take stock and work out why you're feeling uptight.

5. THINK POSITIVE
Use 'affirmations' - positive strands of thought put into words. Repeating, 'I am a loving and much loved person', can work wonders. Say it and believe it. And it will become true.

Ingrid Miller is the agony aunt of Essentials Magazine.
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EATING DISORDER RECOVERY PROGRAMME Edit Link

PARASUICIDE Edit Link

SUICIDE PREVENTION USA Edit Link

RECOVERY FROM DEPRESSION Edit Link

COPING WITH HEALTH CRISES Edit Link

CRITICAL INCIDENCE STRESS Edit Link

SURVIVING SUICIDE Edit Link

FRIENDSHIP. ATTEMPTED SUICIDE AND RECOVERY Edit Link

COPING WITH LIFE CRISES Edit Link

A 12 STEP RECOVERY PROGRAMME FOR THOSE UNDERGOING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS Edit Link

COPING WITH BEING DEPRESSED AND SUICIDAL Edit Link

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With very special thanks to DERBYSHIRE MIND and the NUMBER ONE COMMUNITY centre in DERBY. Edit Text