No Harm Done – three short films, co-created with young people, parents and professionals, reflecting their real-life experiences of self-harm. The films provide hope and give practical support to those affected by self-harm and counteract the negative and frightening messages widely available online.
What We Did
The accompanying digital packs, also co-created by young people, parents and professionals, dispel myths, answer frequently asked questions, provide practical advice and signpost to further help and support.
Between 10% and 20% of adolescents are thought to self-harm and this can often be a coping strategy for young people experiencing depression and related problems. This causes a huge amount of distress in all those who are touched by it. Young people are growing up in a stressful environment with increasing demands to perform academically and socially. Therefore, the topic of self-harm has become increasingly important to pupils, teachers and parents. CAMHS services are not always able to take referrals of young people who are self-harming and there has been a lack of appropriate, high quality digital material as an alternative. The No Harm Done digital resources address this and enable professionals, young people and parents to get the information and support they need.
Wider Active Support
No Harm Done was a very successful partnership project between The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, The Royal College of Psychiatrists and Young Minds. RCP provided clinical expertise to ensure the films and digital packs were safe, appropriate and based on the most recent evidence. CWMT provided expertise in writing the digital packs for parents and professionals, based on their extensive work in schools. Young Minds supported the young people and parents who co-created and films.
A group of young people with experience of self-harming were involved in this project from the start. They told us what would have helped them, how to convey key messages and worked with the film production team to co-create the films. This was one of the best aspects of the project as by the end all the young people involved had a great sense of achievement.
Lucy, 18, was one of contributors to the films. She said: “I got involved with this project alongside other young people who have ‘been there’ with self-harm. It is scary and isolating and it often feels like there is no way out. The aim of No Harm Done is to reassure those affected by self-harm that things can and do improve – it can be hard work, and it might feel worse before it gets better, but coming out of the other side is so worth it.” The same approach was taken with parents who told us what would have helped them understand their son/daughters self-harming and how they could have given and received support themselves.
Looking Back/Challenges Faced
Some people have requested hard copy versions of the digital packs but we decided to only offer digital media. It would have been beneficial to have had a larger budget for publicity and promotion via all sources but particularly on social media.
We had to establish an effective way of joint working between the 3 organisations from the outset to overcome problems with differing views or organisational priorities/profile. We had to work hard to make young people and parents feel confident and sufficiently well supported to take part, given that this can be a difficult topic to discuss. Young Minds have a great deal of experience in doing this and the film makers were chosen in part for their track record of service user co-production.
In some schools, NHS services and other youth settings there may not be good quality technology to support using digital media effectively (internet access, fast broadband etc). We therefore provide free USB sticks with the films and digital packs on them for ease of use and sharing.
We have an ongoing dissemination and evaluation plan and will review this regularly. No Harm Done is promoted in the work of RCP, Young Minds and CWMT in schools, teaching, training and at many conferences and events. None of this is reliant on an individual but is an organisational priority. As our digital reach grows we hope that No Harm Done will reach ever more people.
We designed a quantitative and qualitative evaluation from the outset. Our first 3 months of data shows: Views on Facebook and YouTube – 99,815 People who viewed the videos all the way through to the end on YouTube – 45.1% (this is high)
Pack downloads from website – 1051 Retweets from twitter – 734 Likes on Facebook – 1251 Click throughs from e-shot – 12.7% (against 2.8% industry average) Open rate from eshot – 32.9% (against 25.2% industry average) Qualitative feedback from people using the No Harm Done materials: ””I just wanted to say that these films are incredible. They are so powerful and informative, thank you for sharing these””
- “I particularly liked the professionals’ video and will suggest that students and parents watch this because it mentions about how the professional responds ie if they react badly, they will not show what’s on the inside, whereas if they look beyond the wound, they will trust them and talk about it. It also talks about listening to the self-harmer, not try just to fix things.“
“Twilight session went really well. Resources covered all aspects of self harm for staff and were well received. We are going to use them with parents and pupils too”. “I am sure many people will draw a lot of strength, understanding and reassurance from those videos which we’ll share on the college’s website”.
A key principle from the outset was to make these digital materials freely available to anyone wishing to access them. We allow anyone to download, promote and use the materials and provide free USB sticks to aid dissemination. We have secured web hosting of a link to the materials on many key partner websites including CAMHS, social care, schools and third sector and this continues as part of our dissemination plan.
Mental Health First Aid England have asked if they can use the resources in their training.