How group support ends self-harm

Activity sessions help to reduce self-harm among young people.


Harm 2 Calm


Funded and supported by Warwickshire Council's Targeted Support for Young People (TS4YP) service. Each course costs around £55 plus £20 per session for materials


Harm 2 Calm was a response to the high incidence of self-harm among young people referred for one-to-one support from Warwickshire's TS4YP service. Youth worker Charlotte Carr and colleague Sonia Brench wrote the programme in 2014 to support young people during waits for child and adolescent mental health services, and reduce their isolation and dependence on medication.

They started delivering Harm 2 Calm in September 2015 and have so far delivered two courses for 15 pupils at a school in Bedworth, north Warwickshire.


Harm 2 Calm consists of nine weekly 90-minute sessions for around eight young people who self-harm. Participants are usually aged 11 to 16, mainly referred by teachers.

Sessions encompass seven themes: communication, confidence and conduct; planning and problem-solving; relationships and leadership; creativity; resilience and determination; and managing feelings. Facilitators use activities including discussion, cookery, creative writing, arts and crafts to improve young people's outcomes in these areas.

"When young people get coping strategies from their peers, that's when the real listening takes place," explains Brench.

Participants who need it get follow-up one-to-one support for about four weeks after the group sessions end.


Before and after surveys were completed by nine young people from years 8 to 11 in February and May last year. These show improvements in all seven key areas of the course. Before the course, participants scored themselves an average of four out of 10 for communication but this went up to eight out of 10 afterwards. Average scores for confidence and conduct, planning and problem-solving and relationships and leadership increased from four to seven, scores for creativity went up from six to eight, resilience and determination from four to six and managing feelings from three to six.

Monitoring by facilitators suggests young people stopped self-harming while attending the group and one-to-one sessions.

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