When it comes to self harm, #TalkingIsHarmless

Self harm web

Penumbra's Robin Murphy reflects on Self Harm Awareness Day, and looks at what can be done to help prevent people from harming

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9th March 2018 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

With all the bad weather last week, you could be forgiven for missing Self Harm Awareness Day. It happened last Thursday (1 March), just as heavy snow was creating traffic chaos and causing workplaces to close across much of the UK. It was the day when the snow really started to stick, and the day we began to realise we were in for a longer freeze!

The international event was launched in 2002 to draw attention to self harm and promote positive understanding.

There’s been a lot of progress over the last 16 years, but sadly self harm is still largely misunderstood and stigmatised. Even well intentioned people who are deeply concerned about someone they know – a family member, friend, colleague or pupil – often have serious misconceptions about self harm.

Robin Murphy

Robin Murphy

That’s why on Self Harm Awareness Day we launched #TalkingIsHarmless – a series of articles which we hope will plough through the misunderstandings and provide open, honest and non-stigmatising information.

Penumbra runs nearly 30 mental health projects across Scotland, including dedicated self harm services in Aberdeen, North Ayrshire, Edinburgh and Fife. #TalkingIsHarmless was the brainchild of our staff in these services, who wanted to use Self Harm Awareness Day to create a resource that would be useful every day of the year.

Cheryl, Christy, Kane, Steve and Mel from our team in Aberdeen drew on decades of collective experience to pen four articles which tackle the questions they are asked most often: What is self harm? Why do people do it? What are the facts (and myths – there are many!)? And where can people go for help?

It’s now over a week since Self Harm Awareness Day, and hundreds of people have already read our #TalkingIsHarmless articles. If you’re in Aberdeen, you may even have spotted our #TalkingIsHarmless posters and plasters dotted around.

Just like Self Harm Awareness Day, last week’s spell of bad weather is behind us now too. The flurry of snow generated much commotion, but it has died down and things have got back to normal. In a way, #TalkingIsHarmless is our attempt to prevent this happening to the goodwill and awareness generated by Self Harm Awareness Day. Building on a flurry of activity, we hope #TalkingIsHarmless will be a useful bank of information every day of the year for people looking for facts and advice.

Most importantly though, #TalkingIsHarmless embodies our ethos when it comes to self harm - the most important thing is to keep talking about it. It is the only way we will raise awareness, tackle the stigma, and promote understanding. Unlike heavy snow, one day isn’t enough to have a real impact.

You can join the #TalkingIsHarmless conversation by using the hashtag on social media or visiting the Penumbra website.

Robin Murphy is a Communications Officer at Penumbra.