Hope for Harm is a service for adults who self-harm as a way of coping with overwhelming emotional experiencing and/or psychological pain. While it is true that for some people self-harm is a risk factor for suicide, it is also true that for many people, it is a means of coping and staying alive.
If your self-harm is severe and/or you are suicidal, you may need additional support before our service can be of best help. Please reach out to the relevant services which can be found in our wider support information or contact us for help with finding the best-fit help for you.
We have personal and professional experience of self-harm and know that it is a complex issue that is usually difficult for people to talk about. Our mission is to change that by offering a service where people can talk about it without fear of judgement. We also aim to raise awareness of self-harm through communication, training and education.
What we Offer
We offer a professional and specialist service of up to 18 counselling/therapy sessions where we can explore past/present situations that may lead you to self-harm. There is also the option to learn new skills for distress tolerance and regulating emotion. The emphasis is on you and your needs. When we meet you, we can tailor a therapeutic plan that is individual to you.
How to Refer
Please complete our
CLEAR is a partner in People in Mind - a multiagency collaboration which supports people aged 16 and over, and takes a trauma-informed, whole-family approach to supporting good mental health and preventing mental health crisis, including self-harm counselling as part of our Hope for Harm Service. Further information about People in Mind can be found here.
Our Commitment to You
Privacy and Confidentiality
We recognise how hard it is to disclose self-harm and how important it is to feel that you will be treated respectfully and professionally. Our Confidentiality Policy ensures that:
- We adhere to the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions
- We will never disclose your information or the content of your sessions to anybody outside Hope for Harm.
- The only exception to this is if you, or someone you are speaking about, is at risk of harm or if you are actively suicidal, in which case we will need to contact other support agencies (e.g. your GP) to ensure you receive the support that you need.
- We work within GDPR requirements and will only hold information about you that we deem essential. We'll always inform you of any information held and ask for your consent.
Respect and Professionalism
- We will offer you a professional and friendly service.
- We know it can be scary to take that initial step to reach out, so we'll try our best to help you feel safe and supported enough to talk about whatever you need to.
- We will offer you an initial appointment where we can find out more about each other and discuss how we may best help your situation. You can ask any questions you may have and find out more about us.
- Should we both agree that this is the right support for you, we will offer you up to 18 sessions of specialised counselling/therapy. We can discuss how best to plan your counselling and will regularly review your progress and your needs.
- We hope to see you for your appointments face-to-face in a mutually convenient venue. Should this not be possible, we will offer e-counselling sessions using the Zoom platform if it is appropriate and safe to do so. We do not offer telephone counselling.
- Offering a quality service that is helping you is important to us. To help us assess this, we will ask you to complete short evaluation forms.
Knowledge and Understanding
- We recognise that self-harm is complex, as are the reasons behind it, which are unique to the individual.
- It is almost always a response to intense emotional pain, trauma or difficulty from the past or in the present.
- We believe that there are ways to reduce the impact of self-harm on your life and to stop it altogether if you so wish.
- We know that there is often much shame, guilt and embarrassment associated with self-harm. This can make talking about it difficult, for fear of judgement which may leave people feeling isolated.
- Furthermore, self-harming can be hard to stop as it can become a habitual way of dealing with stress, trauma, anger and sadness.
- We believe that providing a relationship of warmth and trust is essential in allowing you to talk about your self-harming and crucially, the underlying cause.
We won't try and make you stop self-harming. Unless you are in danger, we won't tell you that you must stop self-harming. This is because:
- Like any behaviour nobody can 'make' you stop self-harming until you are ready.
- Self-harm is often a way of coping with intense feelings and emotions, and we don't want to take this away from you unless/ until you are ready to look at alternatives.
However, we will offer you safer options and other coping strategies when things build-up.
We focus on adults as that is our current area of expertise and experience, but we know that many children and young people self-harm. Therefore, we plan to extend our reach to ALL age groups in the future. In the meantime, there are other services that may be able to support you, if you are under 18 years old, which can be found in our wider support information. If you are struggling to find the right service, please contact us and we will do our best to point you in the right direction.
Training and Education
Delivered by a qualified and experienced trainer, we offer a 2 hour specialist training workshop on self-harm, costing £300 for up to 12 people. Please enquire if your charity, organisation or group could benefit from developing their understanding, awareness and response to self-harm.
What is Self-harm?
Self-harm is generally defined as a deliberate act of self-injury or self-poisoning and for many people, is a way of coping with difficult or distressing feelings and circumstances. It can include a wide range of behaviours, with some of the more common forms listed below:
- Hair pulling
- Overdosing or witholding medication
- Object insertion
Why do people self-harm?
Self-harm is complex and the experiences and intentions behind it can vary from person to person. Many people use it as a way of coping with difficult or distressing emotions or circumstances.
Research by Harmless, a charity specialising in Self-harm and Suicide Prevention, has found that people's reasons for self-harming can be grouped into three broad themes:
1. To get a reaction from somebody, so someone notices my pain, to care (interpersonal)
2. Because I feel out of control, to feel calmer, to cope, to get a release, to express my feelings, to punish
myself (emotional regulation)
3. I don’t know what else to do, out of habit (habitual type)
We know there is also a strong link between trauma and self-harm.
Relationship between suicide and self-harm
Most people who self-harm are not suicidal. However, most people who suicide have self-harmed, therefore self-harm can be a predictive factor. Like self-harm, suicide is complex, individual and rarely the result of a single factor. It is therefore important not to over-simplify the factors that lead to suicide or view the role of self-harm in isolation from other factors.
How common is self-harm?
It is impossible to know as it is usually hidden and rarely comes to the attention of health professionals, but it is estimated to be at least 1% of the population (approx. 4 million).
The U.K. has one of the highest rates of self-harm in Europe and Cornwall has higher than average rates. It is prevalent in all ages, genders and backgrounds and most common in young women aged 16-24.
In 2019, The Samaritans supported someone with self-harm once every 2 minutes but we know that the stress of the Pandemic and lockdowns has increased the numbers of people self-harming and the severity.