We can’t be there in person to help and support you in a moment of crisis, but there are other options available to you if you can’t turn to someone you trust. By giving us your postcode (or one nearby to where you are right now) we can let you know about services in your area. Remember: this moment will pass; you won’t always feel the way you do right now.
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Hi. My name is Jess and I have been working for SelfharmUK (which is part of a bigger young people's charity called Youthscape) for over three years now. As well as running this website, I also spend one day a week running face-to-face groups and activities with young people either in school or here in the Youthscape building in Luton.
If you're a Little Mix fan, you'll probably know who Jesy Nelson is. Most people would describe her as a young, beautiful and very talented singer. But that's not what social media trolls will tell you.
In fact, they'd tell you that she's "fat", "ugly" and that she should "go and kill herself".
Horrible, isn't it? But that's what social media trolling is. Someone who 'purposely says something controversial in order to get a rise out of other users' (as defined by Google search).
In a recent documentary called 'Odd One Out' by BBC Three, Jesy talks openly about her experiences of being trolled on social media since becoming famous, and the effects it's had on her self-esteem and body confidence. It's a really well filmed documentary and whilst we do recommend watching it, we advise you to be careful as it can be quite upsetting and heartbreaking at points too.
I don't remember what I was commenting on, but I remember posting a comment on a public Facebook post, and receiving a really hurtful reply about my appearance from someone I didn't know less than a minute after my comment was posted. This happened almost 10 years ago now, but to this day I can remember exactly what they said, and if I let myself think about it for too long, it still hurts like it did when I first read it.
Since then, I have not shared my opinion on a public Facebook post for fear of being trolled again.
Unfortunately, unlike me, Jesy hasn't had the option to choose not to put herself out there. When you're famous, everything you do is up for public opinion - from what you wear and how you look, to what you do and who you spend time with!
BUT - even if she did, why should she!?
Trolling and cyber-bullying (when comments are targeted towards an individual as opposed to on public blog posts and news sites) are not ok.
In her documentary, Jesy posts the below Instagram post to represent her making peace with who she was back in 2011 (when she won X-Factor) after her trolls made her hate herself...
Whether you're a troll or are being trolled, Ditch The Label (Anti-Bullying site) offer some great advice in the following blogs:
I'll leave you with something that Jesy said during the documentary as part of the above Instagram post...
The blog post below was written by Sophie, a Graduate Volunteer at Youthscape working alongside the SelfharmUK team.
Have you ever noticed that you’re a little happier on sunny days? When you get enough sunshine, your body produces vitamin D3, which has been linked to emotional well-being. Did you know that it’s actually called the “sunshine” vitamin? It does loads for you – keeps your bones strong, helps cells grow, and helps your immune system.
Research into the effects of vitamin D has suggested that people who lack vitamin D are 11 times more prone to depression than the average person.
Because Vitamin D is important for brain functions, and we all have Vitamin D receptors in the same areas of the brain associated with the development of depression, a lack of it has been linked to mental health issues, such as depression, seasonal affective disorder and schizophrenia. The science behind this is conflicting – one theory suggests that vitamin D affects how monoamines, such as serotonin, work in our brains. Anti-depression medication works by increasing the number of monoamines in the brain.
There are even government guidelines on how much vitamin D you should be getting every day. Adults and children (a year old and above) should have an intake of 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day, and babies under a year old should have 8.5-10 micrograms every day, especially during the winter months, when the weather’s not as sunny. To achieve the daily recommended amount of vitamin D, you might have to take a supplement. Anyone at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency is encouraged to take a supplement all year round.
There are a lot of factors which go into how much vitamin D your body can produce, such as lifestyle, weather, and access to sunlight. According to Holland and Barrett, 90% of our vitamin D levels are made when our bodies get enough sunlight. You don’t even need to spend hours in the sun – just 10 minutes in bright sunshine should be enough to boost your vitamin D levels! And sitting inside by a window, or in a car, even in sunshine, doesn’t count because the glass blocks the UV rays.
So, the next time it’s a lovely day outside, why not go out and spend some time in the sun? It’s better for your body than you think!
People who self-harm normally don't want to take their own lives. Suicide is a way of ending one’s life, but for many people, self-harm is a way of coping with life and being able to continue with living despite the emotional difficulties they may be experiencing. For some, the physical pain of self-harm reassures them they are still alive – this might be because they are experiencing emotional numbness or feeling disconnected from the world around them, or at the other end of the spectrum, feeling more connected and alive than they did previously.
Self-harm can also cause changes in the brain chemistry, which, although ‘satisfying’, can easily become addictive and therefore dangerous.
Sometimes people do die as a result of self-harm. This may be because they have taken an act of harming too far, and they lose their lives before help is found, or it may be they engage in something such as self-poisoning, which carries an incredibly high risk of death if untreated. There is believed to be an increase in suicidal intent if someone is prevented from self-harming. As difficult and challenging as it can be to understand, sometimes self-harm may be the safest option, if the alternative involves a desire to end life. It’s dangerous to prevent someone from harming without providing them with a realistic, alternative coping mechanism that they are willing to engage with.
It is important to know a bit about your body in order to keep yourself safe. Self-harm is never, ever completely safe or free from risks, but there are small things that can make a big difference and maybe save your life. If you are still going to hurt yourself, then it's important you try and do it in the safest way possible. Losing you would be a tragic waste. Every life has value.
If you're struggling with thoughts on suicide, you don't have to face them alone. Samaritans have a 24hr free helpline that you can call whatever you're going through.
My Trolls and Me
If you're a Little Mix fan, you'll probably know who Jesy Nelson is. Most people would describe her as a young, beautiful and very talented singer. But that's not what social media trolls will tell you...