New self harm support website opens
As part of the county council's continued efforts to reduce self harm and suicide in Gloucestershire, a new web site has been launched to support those most in need of help.
Rethink Mental Illness, who provide the Gloucestershire Self Harm Helpline (GSHHL) service on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council (GCC), have been awarded a contract to continue with the service and to offer a new web based support network.
The website (www.gloucestershireselfharm.org) offers access to how and where to get help, self help strategies, downloadable resources, links to other local and national sources of support as well as targeted help for people of different ages and backgrounds.
As well as the new website, Rethink Mental Illness will continue to run their helpline, which is open between 5pm and 10pm, seven days a week. Alongside the website they will be providing a confidential space for people to explore self harm, discover coping strategies, and improve their mental wellbeing.
The helpline call handlers will signpost and work in partnership with other agencies when appropriate by way of telephone calls, text messages and instant chat/online messages during the helpline's operational hours.
Self harm is directly linked with death by suicide, as well as being an indicator of poor mental health and well-being. It can also be a protective factor for suicide; a coping mechanism that prevents the person from doing something more harmful.
Cllr Andrew Gravells, cabinet member for public health, said: "Sometimes, it can be difficult to talk about feelings of depression, anxiety or stress, and sometimes people feel that they don't have anyone to talk to at all about these feelings. But mental health problems affect 1 in 4 of us during our lives so it's much more common that people think.
"I'd encourage everyone in Gloucestershire who has these feelings or feel that they have no one to talk to, to contact the Helpline or go to the website. There is help out there - you will be listened to and the call handlers will explore self harm, discover coping strategies, and improve current mental wellbeing."
Brian Dow, director of external affairs at Rethink Mental Illness, said: "People self-harm for different reasons, for example to deal with strong emotions like anger or sadness, to punish yourself for things you think you've done wrong, or to distract yourself from certain feelings.
"If you self-harm or know some one who does, our helpline is a safe, supportive and non-judgemental space where we provide confidential emotional support and information, whether it's during a crisis or not, and help you find coping strategies to help work towards recovery. The main thing to remember is that you're not alone, and that help is here."