Community Psychiatric Nurse, Team Leader – Georgina Cadby-Fisher, who has been working in mental health for 3 years has written an advice piece on how to spot the signs and provide support to somebody who is self-harming.

Georgina Cadby Fisher

What is self-harm?

So what do we mean by Self-harm? Self-harm is when you hurt yourself as a way of dealing with very difficult feelings, painful memories or overwhelming situations and experiences that feel out of control. It can be the thing people turn to when they feel they have no other option.

Signs of potential self-harm:

There are not always obvious signs that somebody close to you may have begun self harming. But there are some signs you can look out for:

  • Unexplained cuts, bruises or burns
  • Wearing more clothing than usual to cover any evidence of self harm
  • Changes in eating or becoming secretive/obsessive about eating
  • Unusual weight loss or weight gain

So why do people self-harm?

There are many reasons people self-harm, such as being bullied, stress, bereavement, experiencing a form of abuse whether that’s sexual, physical or emotional.

  • If people are angry, self-harming can be a form of release of pent up anger or emotion
  • Self-harm can be a form of control for people if they feel they have no control over other aspects of their life
  • It can be for psychological reasons such as hearing voices that tell them to do it

Advice for people living with somebody that self-harms

Living with somebody or watching people close to you self harm can be difficult and distressing but there are things you can do to help:


Hayley Bancroft and Jo Kelly have been holding a three week girls group to promote positive self-esteem, body image and healthy relationships.

The aims of each session changed slightly to suit the needs of the young people that attended. 4 young girls have attended each week.

The weeks was broken down as follows:
Week 1- Ice Breakers, work around Hayley getting to know them, Self-esteem, your own personal shield. The things that were important to help them feel safe.
Week 2- Their home environment and what people contribute positively around them towards their self-esteem.
Week 3- What you should wear on a date, they also made pizza and cakes as a treat and also decided to do make overs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the young people T said ‘It’s been better than I thought it would be’ another young person ‘ asked can we meet every week?’

Hayley and Jo said ‘ it was a great success and it was nice to see the young people interacting positively with each other’

The group was a success and the young people have decided to meet every 8 weeks. Capstone North will be also looking at holding a boys group and then also a mixed young people group


Our mentors offer non-judgemental support from a position of understanding as foster carers themselves. They are here to help improve confidence, skills and practices of new or less experienced foster carers.

Adele has been fostering for over 10 years were she has cared for babies to teenagers, sibling groups and children with disabilities. Her passion for Looked After Children and commitment to advocating for their needs to be met puts her in an excellent position when it comes to acting as a Peer Mentor – promoting the foster carer role, whilst using her knowledge and experience to support others effectively.

Additionally, Michelle has been a foster carer with Capstone for 8 years, and more recently she has volunteered to become our LGBT Champion. Her background in this area is from having a close number of friends from the LGBT community, and being a passionate advocate for equality and diversity. To date she has been involved in supporting Capstone Foster Care with reviewing policies, and providing reviews on books for young people exploring their identity.

Furthermore, Liz began her fostering career back in 2010 and has gone on to care for children of all ages and from a variety of cultures, many with additional needs and behavioural issues. All have benefitted from her warm and empathic approach and she wanted to extend this support to those new to fostering or those experiencing difficulties. She hopes to help carers feel less isolated and more at ease when it comes to them understanding their roles and responsibilities.

Nina has gained valuable experience through her 6 years of fostering with Capstone Foster Care she has looked after children aged 5 months to teenagers each with their own diverse issues and problems. She has a wealth of knowledge to share especially with the mother and baby placements she has supported.

Finally, Simone unfortunately wasn’t present when the photo was being taken, Simone became a foster carer 4 years ago and has since demonstrated her ability to remain level-headed and child-focused in some particularly difficult situations. Her calm and nurturing responses have enabled her to connect with young people quickly, developing a mutually respectful environment where they have flourished as individuals. Through becoming a Peer Mentor Simone would like to think she could offer encouragement to help develop confidence in others, enabling placements to become more secure, happy places.


Left to Right: Adele (Peer Mentor), Michelle (LGBT Champion and Peer Mentor),
Liz (Peer Mentor) & Nina (Peer Mentor).


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