An informative and motivating conference at the Trent Conference Centre, Nottingham
The Annual Harmless Conference, ‘From Harm to Hope’ took place at Trent Conference Centre, Nottingham. The theme: Keeping Access High when Resources are low. The speeches and the workshops provided much food for thought, and the challenges facing statutory and voluntary sector services was front and centre. We cannot shy away from the need to continue doing our bit, however small, in the fight to prevent suicide. And we must never lose sight of the fact that what might seem like a ‘small bit’ might actually be life changing for one young person and we have to hold on to that thought when times are hard.
On a personal note, it was encouraging listening to Caroline Harrow, CEO and Founder of Harmless, remember Harmless’ humble beginnings: they raised £9 in the first year. They now hold an elected position on the NICE Committee on self-harm and the National Suicide Prevention Advisory Group to Government.
There is much work to be done, we know that. As a parent I might have been shocked by the escalating numbers of girls in particular who self-harm (up to 64%), the inconsistent use of risk assessments in A&E Departments that misses many of those most at risk of suicide, and the impending tragedy caused by the cost-of-living crisis.
However, we must remember that suicide is preventable. And I am reassured by the speakers and organisations involved in today’s conference that promoting positive mental health and enabling suicide prevention is vital work that WTF, along with so many other organisations, seeks to achieve.