Healing the self-harm

This Is Wiltshire: PASH co-ordinator Maria Burchell PASH co-ordinator Maria Burchell

BREAKING the deafening silence and deep stigma surrounding self-harm is the only way to tackle the growing issue and reach out to the thousands hurting themselves in Swindon.

This is campaigner Maria Burchell’s urgent message as Self Harm Awareness Day gets underway today.

The international day of action brings the spotlight on a widespread yet often misunderstood and ignored problem, which affects one in six teenagers UK-wide, in order to help those left to suffer in silence.

Maria, who founded Preservation Around Self Harm (PASH) hopes that by raising awareness of self harm, myths surrounding the subject and ingrained fears will be dispelled.

“Self Harm is ageless and classless,” she said. “Predominantly our clients are under 25 but equally we have clients in their 60s and sadly it is on the increase, not just in Swindon but everywhere.

“Self harm and self injury is a very secretive business. And Self Harm Awareness Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness to help people understand the individuals that are harming and to encourage people who are harming to come forward. There is fantastic support out there.

“There is quite a stigma around self harm because the subject itself makes people feel uncomfortable.”

Contrary to popular belief self harm is not limited to physical injury but covers everything from cutting, burning and biting to eating disorders, alcohol and drug abuse and negative thoughts or low self-esteem.

“It’s a form of coping and for people who self harm it’s a way of staying alive. The physical pain is easier to manage than the emotional pain. But they often feel guilty about self harming. It’s very complex.

“But the first step for everyone is to talk about it.”

PASH, a charity under the umbrella of the Swindon & Wiltshire Alcohol & Drug Service offers a wide range of information, advice and professional support in a safe and non-judgemental environment or by telephone to over 16s.

Call PASH on 01793 649510 or visit http://pashswindon.org.uk. Help can also be found on www.lifesigns.org.uk and www.selfharm.co.uk

Comments (7)

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10:46am Sat 1 Mar 14

mug? says...

"The physical pain is easier to manage than the emotional pain."

It's not that complex. She has it bang on.
"The physical pain is easier to manage than the emotional pain." It's not that complex. She has it bang on. mug?
  • Score: 0

1:04pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Badgersgetabadname says...

A large part of the guilt is the stigma that is attached to SH the image is that someone is locked away in a dark room but the reality is SH can cover a wide range of toxic events. From cutting, burns and heavy drinking to drugs if it harms you are you are doing it as a way to cope with other things it is self harm.
Like most mental health issues it is a vicious circle many people look at it as a weakness rather than being pushed so far it seems right.
A large part of the guilt is the stigma that is attached to SH the image is that someone is locked away in a dark room but the reality is SH can cover a wide range of toxic events. From cutting, burns and heavy drinking to drugs if it harms you are you are doing it as a way to cope with other things it is self harm. Like most mental health issues it is a vicious circle many people look at it as a weakness rather than being pushed so far it seems right. Badgersgetabadname
  • Score: 1

4:01pm Sat 1 Mar 14

underdogs says...

Some good articles you are writing currently Marion, but be aware self harming as the above posting also confirms is a mental health illness that can be cured with the right support and treatment including counselling . It is unfortunate with the extremely poor services offered by Avon and Wiltshire Partnership to many people in this area, it appears other charities and organisations are now taking over the duties and responsibilities of AWP - the NHS body that does not care from my experiences of them. Nice to see these charities and voluntary bodies step in - but with the tens if not HUNDREDS of millions of pounds of taxpayers money being put into AWP each year - what are they wasting it on - all those BMWs and Mercs for staff ? Mental health services in Wiltshire have been substandard for many years dating back to 2000 at least from my experience, and despite all the hot air from Wiltshire Council and the AWP board, in reality I do not experience any real improvements, other than maybe better ' massaged ' data and statistics ? On the receiving end, with the exception of a few good staff , its as bad as its always been - not fit for purpose !
Some good articles you are writing currently Marion, but be aware self harming as the above posting also confirms is a mental health illness that can be cured with the right support and treatment including counselling . It is unfortunate with the extremely poor services offered by Avon and Wiltshire Partnership to many people in this area, it appears other charities and organisations are now taking over the duties and responsibilities of AWP - the NHS body that does not care from my experiences of them. Nice to see these charities and voluntary bodies step in - but with the tens if not HUNDREDS of millions of pounds of taxpayers money being put into AWP each year - what are they wasting it on - all those BMWs and Mercs for staff ? Mental health services in Wiltshire have been substandard for many years dating back to 2000 at least from my experience, and despite all the hot air from Wiltshire Council and the AWP board, in reality I do not experience any real improvements, other than maybe better ' massaged ' data and statistics ? On the receiving end, with the exception of a few good staff , its as bad as its always been - not fit for purpose ! underdogs
  • Score: 0

6:28pm Sat 1 Mar 14

purplebanana3121 says...

Please feel free to join my page "ear to listen" or email me at purplebanana3121@gma
il.com

I have been self harming on and off for years. I have set up my "ear to listen" for anyone with mental healt illnesses or issues. Please don't feel alone.
Please feel free to join my page "ear to listen" or email me at purplebanana3121@gma il.com I have been self harming on and off for years. I have set up my "ear to listen" for anyone with mental healt illnesses or issues. Please don't feel alone. purplebanana3121
  • Score: 0

1:04pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Russell Holland says...

good points here. I think the key thing is that different people are ready to seek help at different times but perhaps most importantly asking for some help is a sign of strength and not weakness.

Well done to everyone involved.
good points here. I think the key thing is that different people are ready to seek help at different times but perhaps most importantly asking for some help is a sign of strength and not weakness. Well done to everyone involved. Russell Holland
  • Score: 0

1:45pm Sun 2 Mar 14

Badgersgetabadname says...

Sop often we are told asking for help is a big step but what happens when you do and there is no help or you can sit in A&E patched up and out the door all physical injures bandaged but that`s not really the problem.
Sop often we are told asking for help is a big step but what happens when you do and there is no help or you can sit in A&E patched up and out the door all physical injures bandaged but that`s not really the problem. Badgersgetabadname
  • Score: 0

8:28am Mon 3 Mar 14

house on the hill says...

Russell Holland wrote:
good points here. I think the key thing is that different people are ready to seek help at different times but perhaps most importantly asking for some help is a sign of strength and not weakness.

Well done to everyone involved.
Depends on the help. My experiences of a close relative have been that the people she went to help for actually made it worse but just seeing her as a statistic rather than a person. More concerned in "patching her up" and getting her out the door so they could tick a box to say they helped rather than actually deal with the long term issues of helping her. Putting her with others in the same condition or worse was the last thing she needed!
[quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: good points here. I think the key thing is that different people are ready to seek help at different times but perhaps most importantly asking for some help is a sign of strength and not weakness. Well done to everyone involved.[/p][/quote]Depends on the help. My experiences of a close relative have been that the people she went to help for actually made it worse but just seeing her as a statistic rather than a person. More concerned in "patching her up" and getting her out the door so they could tick a box to say they helped rather than actually deal with the long term issues of helping her. Putting her with others in the same condition or worse was the last thing she needed! house on the hill
  • Score: 1

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