selfharm.co.uk was created because it is needed.
selfharm.co.uk started out of the work of Youthscape, a local charity based in Luton, Bedfordshire, UK. Since it's beginnings in 1993, the charity has developed a strong and professional reputation for delivering caring, child-centred work which focuses on the emotional and social needs of all young people. Youthscape works alongside all young people, regardless of race, background, or faith. Over the past 10 years, Youthscapes's work has increasingly involved young people who self-harm. It wasn't long before a plan began to form to try and support them, starting with the provision of informal support groups in local schools. With the help of funding from BBC Children in Need and other grant-making Trusts, the project was able to appoint a specialist staff team in 2005 and develop a more coherent provision that included art projects and therapeutic group programmes. Training and advice for parents and professionals soon followed, in conjunction with the Local Authority and local schools.
In 2008, Youthscape responded to the growing number of enquiries for support and advice coming from outside Luton by beginning to plan for a national project that could support young people from all over the UK. Further planning and fund raising led to the establishment of selfharm.co.uk later that year and the appointment of a project director.
The development of a website was a key part of our initial vision... to have a safe online space available to inform and support young people who self-harm, as well as cater for the needs of their siblings, parents and friends. We also wanted to provide information and training for professionals like youth workers, teachers and social workers.
We wanted to create a safe, pro-recovery site for people to use to communicate with others and express their experiences through the use of video blogs, stories, poetry and art. Our next goal is to develop an innovative online therapeutic programme. This will enable young people from all over the UK to be placed within a regular online group, and engage with real professionals in real time in order to explore the deeper issues surrounding self-harm. For some it may be the catalyst needed to reduce or stop their harming behaviour, while for others it may prove empowering, enabling them to seek support in their local area.
We already have a multimedia training programme available to professionals in the UK. Our vision is to see this rolled out more comprehensively; to serve every part of the UK in supporting and nurturing young people who may be experiencing difficulties with self-harm.
Ultimately, we want to work towards lifting the taboo of self-harm, to reduce the stigma that still exists, and make the road back to full health a little easier for those who are affected.
For now, the project remains part of Youthscape as a separate element of this registered charity.
Thank you for joining us on our journey......