Wellbeing service provides life-changing support for Suffolk youngster

Britney writing on a board

Britney found help through the Inspire Suffolk trust programmes and hasn't self-harmed for four months. - Credit: Inspire Suffolk

A Suffolk teenager has spoken of her struggle with self-harming and how a wellbeing service in the county has helped her control her urges.

Britney, 18, decided to join Inspire Suffolk’s Princes Trust programme in 2021 and has now gone several months without causing a self injury. 

She said: “My self-harm was something I used to struggle with, I could never find anything that would actually help me, or relax me, or get the urges off my mind.

“I still struggle with the urges, but I can control them a lot better and keep them at bay by using the things I’ve learnt at the wellbeing sessions.

“I think the reason a lot of young people are struggling with their mental health is because many mental health services don’t listen to you properly.  

Inspire Suffolk logo

Inspire Suffolk logo - Credit: Gregg Brown

“I know from my own experience and other young people who have been through mental health services, it seems like you’re not taken seriously and whenever you tell them things, they just want to give you medication and send you on your way. 

“With the wellbeing service, it’s different, I think if it was available to young people all around the UK, it could really make a difference and improve lives. It has now been four months since I last self-harmed.” 

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A CLS Millennium study showed one in four teenagers aged between 14 and 17 reported self-harming in the past 12 months. By age 17, 10% of females said they had self-harmed with suicidal intent.

Sharon Mitchell, lead counsellor and psychotherapist at Inspire, who worked closely with Britney, said: “There are many reasons why young people may self-harm, but it is often used to cope with, or escape from, negative thoughts and feelings.  

Sharon from Inspire smiling

Sharon Mitchell, psychotherapist at Inspire has been helping Britney with her wellbeing - Credit: Inspire Suffolk

“People traditionally think of self-harm as cutting but it can present itself in a number of ways including hitting, burning or pulling hair. 

“Counselling acts as a space where young people can safely explore these thoughts and feelings without fear of judgement.” 

“By combining our wellbeing service with the rest of our package of support, we can provide support in other areas of life and address barriers that may prevent young people from moving forward."

Today (March 1) is the 20th year of Self-Injury Awareness Day - aimed at creating an understanding of the issue, banishing judgement and fear, and reducing the number of people who feel alone and suffer in silence.