Posts Tagged ‘step up international’

The Economic Crisis VS the Increase in Self Harm

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

In a recent publication by Robert Young, (Royal College of Psychiatrists) Young states: ‘Self-harm among young people in the UK is possibly increasing but little is known about the reasons young people give for cessation and their link with gender or employment status’.

For many people self harm and self injure may be seen as a form of relief. However, what many people fail to question and have little self harm awareness about is why they indulge in such activities in the first instance. Young people undertake self harm activities in all different methods, including; cutting, biting, hair pulling, scratching and intoxicating themselves with cocktails of drugs. Hurting themselves may seem like an only option to release stress from feelings such as; sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, and rage. It is apparent that gender, social status and generally the current economic crisis are all contribution factors of the increase in young people who self harm. For example; the pressure in society to get a good education, followed by a good job is proving to be difficult as the unemployment graduate market is on the rise. Many young people may feel pressurized and stressed and as a result may turn to self harm.

Young’s research suggests that the main motive behind most young people’s self-harm activities was to relieve negative emotions. From the population based studies; there is an indication that the majority of young people who self harm may have limited coping strategies in dealing with emotional difficulties.

Keith Waters who is a member of the National Institute for health research NHS Derby, and who was one of our key leading speakers at our Self Harm National Conference December 2012, highlighted problems which occurred on a current data base for young people who were assessed in all episodes of self harm and attended one in six hospitals within the UK. These problems were identified as relationships, employment, study, financial, housing, legal,substance misuse and physical and mental health.

Gender is also a topic for discussion as research also suggests the percentage of young women who self harm has a higher prevalence than young males and that it is an important predictor of self harm. People often self harm because they feel alone. Others finding ways to help and support young individuals can be life changing for them. Just to know that someone is available offering relevant support and help for self harm and to listen to their problems can be very comforting.

Additionally, Young’s findings suggests that there is also an indication that the current labour market position was a stronger influence than parental social class or gender for self harm, and was linked to a level of severity, motivation for starting and stopping self harm and self injury, and for service utilisation. That said, it is vital that young people have relevant and real self harm help support available to them to prevent or decrease cases of self harm.

Children With School Refusal Behaviour

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

School refusal stems from emotional distress and anxiety which could be related to a range of issues either at home, school or both. A recent study reveals that 1 in 5 British children experience phobia or school refusal which has shown to be more prevalent in children’s age groups aged 5 – 6 and 10 – 11 years.

The research also revealed that many parents were not aware of the conditions and those who were aware of it, experienced a major lack of information.

School refusal does and can bring about a range of physical challenges and symptoms for the child or young person and these include:

– stomach aches

– vomiting

– headaches

– trembling

– joint pains

From a behavioural perspective, the symptoms show up as: tantrums, threats of self harm, crying or angry outbursts. These symptoms are likely to subside once the child feels safe and secure, generally in the home environment and/or once they’ve been allowed to stay at home.

School refusal may be triggered by a number of reasons, children of any age may be refusing to go to school for fear of losing their last remaining parent (or main care giver). Their parents may have separated or they might be a bereaved child and the fear of even more loss, keeps them at home and in a ‘protective role’ and with separation anxiety.

As well as anxiety, other stress related situations at home, school or with peers may also be a trigger for school refusal.

From an emotional perspective, symptoms of school refusal include panic attacks, fearfulness, depression and occurs with both genders.

One of my sons had a change of primary schools and the new primary school that he moved to was a trigger for his school refusal right from the first day of school.

He was evidently emotionally distressed by going to that school, was crying and wouldn’t get dressed in the mornings. He said that the school was too big, which I didn’t understand but his deep reaction and distress to attending that school was more than enough for me to take heed. Within a week he had moved yet again to another primary school and was evidently happier, brighter with smiles all round, which brought about the swift end to his short-lived school refusal.

School refusal and a range of other behaviours from children and young people is merely a form of communication that something is not right. This calls for school staff and parents to look more closely at what is not being said. What is their behaviour telling you?

There is always a reason for children’s behaviour and it is invaluable piece of communication for adults.

How Can You Help Children With School Refusal Behaviour?

Doctors, Parents, Educators, and other professionals can all assist in supporting a child or young person back to school, individually or as a team.

Some ways of helping include:


  1. Identify whether the behaviour relates to school refusal for reasons such as those above or whether it relates to truancy. The distinction between the two generally lies on the child’s focus and/or interest in their school work once their anxiety or fear of school attendance and other related symptoms have subsided. That is, how do they behave once they feel safe and secure at home? Do they focus on their school work or is there a total dis-interest and general negative attitude towards school? Another distinction is the extent of their emotional distress relating to attending school versus being indifferent about school attendance.
  2. Explore best possible options of moving the child towards re-entering the school environment as quickly as possible, yet in a supportive manner. This could include making changes, where possible, to conditions at home which might be triggering the school refusal and engendering collaborative approach between parents, doctor, school and mental health professional/therapist. As some of the presenting symptoms are physical, it is important to involve physicians who may also be able to make referrals to relevant therapists.
  3. Research has shown cognitive behaviour therapy to be particularly beneficial and successful in helping pupils to manage their mindsets, depression and returning to school.
  4. Parental involvement to improve school attendance has also shown to be helpful.
  5. Undertake proper preparation at school for the pupil to be re-integrated and positively supported back into the normal school environment
  6. Foster on-going parent-school communication, collaboration and joint support of the child.
  7. Planned, gradual, assisted exposure to the school environment
  8. Relaxation remedies including visualisation.
  9. Positive reinforcements relating to school environment and attendance.


Do you have pupils who refuse to attend school?

Which of the above strategies would work for them?

Which strategies have you yet to try or test out?

Send us your examples of school refusal and how you dealt with it to:
Find out how our courses can assist you in getting a better understanding of children and young people’s behaviour here:

Did You Know It Was An Inside Job?

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

People come into your life for a reason and being in a relationship provides us with undoubtedly the hardest challenges we face as adults as we are seldom taught to truly love ourselves as children, yet we are expected to know how to love other people as adults in very deep, meaningful, life changing situations such as that posed by marriages and other long term relationships. Relationships teach us, help us to learn life’s lessons and certainly help us to grow as more tolerant human beings if we choose to take up that opportunity. In order to truly love someone else, we must first learn and re-learn to love ourselves. It is impossible to love anyone else more than we love ourselves. The extent of the love we give out is a direct reflection of the love we have for ourselves.

“Be the change you want to see” -Mahatma Ghandi


We get fooled into thinking that the other person only needs to be ‘half ok’ and that we will make up the other half of the relationship, hence the all too common phrase ‘’my other half’’. A healthy relationship needs both parties to be whole, complete individuals in and of themselves, bringing their own happiness, uniqueness, love and abilities into the relationship.

My Partner Is Not Meeting My Needs

A lot of times if we are feeling unfulfilled in our relationship, we tend to aim the
focus of our discontent at our partners without taking sufficient time to focus on
what we might be doing to exacerbate the situation. I know it is easily done and
I have fallen prey to this situation myself in my previous marriage. One of the
things I was guilty of was focusing on what my ex-husband was or was not doing
within the relationship. When I had LEARNT to shift the focus from him to myself,
it was only then that I was able to focus on what I was doing and or not doing
in the relationship. I had to LEARN to take control of my own happiness and
decided that it would not depend on whether my ex-husband or anyone else was
making me happy.


Sometimes we think we know what our needs are, however, when it comes to naming them, we get stuck. If you were to ask your partner today to meet your needs better, what would you say? Do you know what your REAL needs are? Which needs are not being met?
When was the last time you did something spontaneous or special for your partner without expecting something in return? How are you meeting your partner’s needs? Do you know what your partner’s needs are? If you don’t know, then ASK them. Find out what they need in order to feel loved and connected. Sometimes just BEING THERE, being PRESENT is enough. If your partner is not meeting your needs, chances are you may not be meeting theirs either.


You’ve got to give to others first before you can get what you want. If you want a better relationship, go to work on YOU. The problem is not necessarily out there and is usually an ‘inside job’. That is, rather than looking externally and pointing the finger at your partner, look within first. Rather than trying to ‘fix’ them, ‘fix’ you instead. Identify what you want in an ideal relationship and Start to act the way you would like your ideal relationship to be.
Identify where the ‘problem’ really lies: is it you, your partner or the relationship itself. Be honest with yourself and your partner. When you have identified the ‘problem’ then go to work on finding solutions and changing it.

“Be the change you want to see” -Mahatma Ghandi

True, Authentic Self

So, if you want your relationship to be better and grow, GO TO WORK ON YOU TODAY. As you love you more and more, and find your true, authentic self, you will be in a better position to give and share more of your love with your partner.

Loving Inspirations From Children

If you are still feeling unsure about what love is, here’s some inspirations from some children. Enjoy!

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, “What does love mean?”

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca- age 8

”When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy – age 4

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl – age 5

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,” Nikka – age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet)

”Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” Noelle – age 7

“Love is when Mummy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.” Mark – age 6

”I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.” Lauren – age 4

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” (What an imagination) Karen – age 7