Help and hope: The Gloucester self-harm helpline
Mental Health News
Rethink Mental Illness runs a telephone support service for people from Gloucestershire affected by self-harm. It offers a safe, supportive, non-judgmental and informative space for people who self-harm, their friends, families and carers. Here, Claire, an activist who has used the service and now runs one of the peer support groups, talks about her experience...
Growing up I never thought my life would be one of self-harm. In the early years I didn’t even identify it as self-harm; instead it was just a way to deal with everything I went and still go through.
Self-harm was a release from a volcano that was about to erupt. It was a punishment for actions I perceived to be wrong and even at times just a way of stopping the constant thoughts. It was both my coping mechanism and my secret.
I have experienced the great loneliness and isolation it brings too. I didn’t know where to go to get help and thought I was the only one and that I was weird.
But there is help out there and it is possible to become stronger and fight the massive impulses to self-harm. At times I was addicted to it, I see that now. Through my recovery I’ve learnt that it’s ok to fall and get back up again.
I’ve not yet reached full recovery but I can see the light at the end of tunnel, even though at times it flickers. The helpline run by Rethink Mental Illness is there when I need it most, for the times that I struggle and also for the times I’m doing great but the urge is at the back of my mind.
It helps so much knowing there is a specific helpline for self-harm, someone at the end of the line who understands, shows compassion, and someone who breaks those bricks of isolation.
Self-harm should not be a taboo subject, nor should anyone ever have to feel alone, powerless or at times stigmatised. Having a self-harm helpline goes some way to show that self-harm needs as much support as anything else and people who are, or who have been affected by self-harm, do not have to hide away from who they are.
I know that sometimes the isolation and powerlessness is felt by friends, families and professionals too. They really want to help, support and care for people who self-harm but may not know how to or where to turn. The helpline in Gloucester is there for everyone and it’s so vital.
My only question is why are there not more helplines like this when self-harm continues to be on the increase?
Get more information about self-harm by visiting our advice and information pages.
Click here to learn more about the service.