New self-harm help group to launch in Ripley

A Heanor woman drawing on her difficult life experiences to help others - by launching a self-harm help group today in Ripley.

More than one in 12 people in the UK are believed use methods such as cutting, burning and even taking an overdose to deal with levels of anxiety, grief and shock in their life.

Derby Road, Heanor woman, Claire Shortland used to cut herself every day, she says, but through sessions at the Rethink Centre at The Croft in Ripley and a lot of dedication she has managed to ‘break the cycle’ of self-harming.

Now she is launching a group at the Slack Lane based centre for adults coping with mental illnesses to see if she can help others do the same.

Claire, 24, said: “It will be a place for people to get together that are going through similar experiences and those who are affected by self harm.

“We want to give members the chance to explore ways of breaking the cycle too.”

Claire said at her worst point she was harming herself between five and six times a day - as a way of ‘coping with difficult emotions and situations’.

Although she is still on the road to recovery she says she is in control of it a lot more now.

But it can be a lonely struggle she said.

“One of the aims of setting up this group,” Claire said. “Was that I wanted people to know that they’re not on their own and that they have a place to come where they can meet other people going through those experiences. It’s also an opportunity to socialise.

“Sometimes we will have guest speakers coming in and we will discuss coping techniques.”

Claire said self harm can take many forms from cutting and burning through to ingesting chemicals and it is a problems that research suggests is on the rise in young people, particularly with girls.

The self-help group will run weekly on Thursdays between 6pm and 8pm at The Croft, and is open to anybody over the age of 18.

It is run on a drop-in basis, so there is no need to make an appointment. The number to call for more information is 07989755052.

Amber Valley Nigel Mills has given his backing to the new group, which he says will be a major help to a growing number of young people.

He said: “Self-harm is a complicated problem with many causes and isn’t simply a matter of attention-seeking behaviour.

“The response that people affected by self-harming behaviour can get from their friends, families and those from whom they seek medical assistance can make all the difference.

“It’s vitally important that those affected by the problem get help. That’s why I’m pleased that Claire is setting up a group in Ripley.

“I recommend that anybody affected by self-harming behaviour and wants to get help to better cope with problems go along to the group.”