The blog post below was written by Kirsty who got in touch with us after attending one of our SelfharmUK training events. She works as a mental health professional in a School and is passionate about raising awareness due to her own personal experiences.

I have been personally involved in many areas of mental health, I was personally diagnosed with depression and anxiety at school and fell into further mental health as I got older. I was brought up in quite an abusive home - My Mother caused a lot of my depression and further into my younger teenage years - PTSD. I continued to self-harm though self-burning and also started to harm myself in other more personal ways. I had a very abusive relationship in my early 20's which increased my low mood and began my journey through self-esteem issues and I began starving myself and isolating myself. 

When I was 23, I realised my life was over for me, unless I started to live again. I went through counselling, I in fact completed my training to become a counsellor and started working with schools and educating myself into other areas of which can result in people having MH or self-harming. 

I have worked in several complex areas, with children and adults, whether it be within all aspects of Mental Health; Schizophrenia, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar etc. to Domestic Violence, Sexual and domestic abuse, self-harm, eating disorders and other more complex areas like child sexual exploitation and safeguarding. 

I am so passionate about a lot of things, and one thing my boss knows, is when I want to commit to something, I don't stop, which is another reason why I am here today. 

Self-harm got me through some days, the hardest part was the hiding it. This made it worse, I began to hide it so much that I felt I was lying to myself when I did it. The more I hid the more I felt stigmatised. I started to become the discriminator - even though I was the one I was discriminating - I did it to fit in. I would hide my scars to feel involved. 

As I write, I am putting together an assembly for the schools I work in to raise awareness of Mental Health and self-harm- I am surrounded by it every day - children as young as 9 coming to me for help - or friends noticing their friends doing it, some are doing it over social media - some are not doing it but bullying people into hurting themselves instead. It is becoming more heard of for me than any other area of mental health. 

I want to raise awareness not only around self-harm but also to train staff in schools to know how to help and recognise it, to help parents support it and not condemn it, to give advice to friends on how to help people with it to make more people aware of its starting point and how it can be managed rather than "it is not normal". 

I want to put together more for people suffering in silence because of stigma, misunderstanding and the demand to stop immediately. I also want to run group therapies for people suffering in silence, to do art therapies and group work, programs to manage depression, anxiety and self-harm, you name it, I want to do it and I have already thought of it. I just wish I had someone to involve me in what they do or have a career in spreading the knowledge and support. 

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