Tag Archives: Counselling

Running away only makes things worse: @nolimitshelp blog #Runaways #YoungPeople #Vulnerable

suicide_male_wallFor many, coming home from a long day at work to a warm, cosy house with a loving family is no luxury, it’s just the norm. However for many children and young people across the UK, the home is a cold place of abuse, neglect and harm. Every year an estimated 200,000 people go missing, half of which are children. Last year at No Limits we saw 66 young people who were runaways, 54 of which were at risk of another vulnerability. Whether they’re running away from someone or something, a missing child is made vulnerable to violent crime, gang exploitation or drug and alcohol misuse. Young people need to be made aware of the dangers of running away and how this can cause a risk to themselves and their families. No Limits works to protect children and young people who are at risk, and helps to provide free support, advice and counselling to prevent suffering. You can help to address the issue of young runaways by donating to No Limits, or by offering your time to volunteer at one of our open access drop-in centres. Don’t let a missing child go unnoticed or unreported.

No Limits: Helping young people help themselves.

By Jess Sulzmann, Intern, Marketing and Communications No Limits

Cyber bullying – A bit of banter or brutally barbaric? @nolimitshelp

30 years ago it was the simple letter, 20 years ago saw the introduction of the mobile phone and most recently we have had Facebook and Twitter. The way we communicate has changed dramatically over the past 3 decades and similarly over time it appears we have become less connected with the impact our words have on each other. The advent of technology infiltrating almost all forms of communication has meant that it is now simple for someone, 4,000 miles away to tell you how bad your hair looks today. Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, the aforementioned Facebook and Twitter as well as less known sites such as ask.com and Kik have become avenues where most cyber bullying occurs. face

Notoriously difficult to catch despite hiding in plain sight, the cyber bully has replaced your traditional ‘playground’ bully and evolved into something more sinister, preying on the vulnerable regardless of race, gender and age . ‘It’s just a bit of a laugh’ they say. ‘I didn’t mean anything by it’ they laugh. ‘Stop taking things so seriously’ they sigh. These are the common refrains from those who enjoy playing the role. They attempt to play down their vicious words and accuse those hurt by their words as being ‘soft’. Of not seeing the funny side to their comments. Of being over dramatic. Again just excuses. But it begs the question: would you say the same thing to a stranger on the street?

Technology has made it easier for people to enjoy anonymity for their actions while at the same time increasing how malicious they become when addressing other people. You only have to look at a YouTube comments page to witness this in action. What’s even more worrying is the age at which this is all starting. Children as young as 12 have been attacking each other over cyber space. All it takes is a mobile and an internet connection. This is a worrying trend that has been steady gathering steam. A recent report published by Childline, shows complaints for cyber bullying have risen by an unbelievable 87% since 2011/2012 which highlights the increasing impact and the severity that this is having on our young people. Youth victims of cyber bullying often experience low self-esteem and are more likely to self-harm as a result with a 41% spike since 2011/2012 reported by Childline. As alarming as that figure is, there is a very real likelihood that it could be even higher with some young people afraid to come forward and report such incidents for fear of even more abuse. The issue of evidence gathering can also be complicated due to the ability to alter comments if they are pasted into a word document.cyberbully

There finally seems to be a shift from the government to attempt to tackle this issues more seriously. Secretary of State for Education, Michael Grove, has called on schools to play a greater role in stopping, “the viciousness and personal cruelty” shown by these bullies. The speed at which this is done is imperative as with each passing day, more and more young people face this cruel torment. Charities such as Cybersmile , were specifically setup to combat these issues and offer services such as a helpline, counselling and community outreach programmes. At No Limits, working in conjunction with Right 2B Safe, we aim to educate young people on how to stay safe when online by offering advice on what to do if they feel threatened online as well as ways in which to report any abuse received.

As much as we would like to hark back to a simpler time, we must all accept that technology, along with all its potential pitfalls, is here to stay. What is imperative is that we educate our young people on the impact their words can have while increasing the support and care needed for those young people who need it.

The tragic story of Hannah Smith, who hung herself after excessive bullying, should be a lesson for us all. One life lost is more than enough reason to make a change.

Ayanda Velempini

 

 

 

 

 

University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day @nolimitshelp

Every September, over 2.5 million of our brightest minds embark on one of life’s greatest opportunities. Starting university. As exciting as the time can be, it also can be a huge life shock. For many students, this will be the first time they are tasked with living away from home. New surroundings, new people and having to wash up after yourself. All daunting challenges. For those on the outside looking in, the university experience is the ideal prepping ground for adult life, teaching both independence and survival skills. But what happens when it all gets too much for a student? Deadlines, money issues and being homesick can all have an effect on the mental health of students, increasing the feeling of pressure in an already challenging environment.

Today marks the 12th Anniversary of the University Mental Health and Wellbeing Day (UMHAN). Beginning in 2002, UMHAN is held on the third Wednesday of February, the aim is to get those from educational institutions involved in ensuring the wellbeing of both staff and students with mental health difficulties. Previous legislation has often meant that universities where tasked with conceiving and implementing their own approach to students with mental health issues. Due to the rise in the number of students suffering mental health problems, it has become clear that some Universities are failing their students.

suicide_femaleA report by the National Union of Students found that during the university experience, as much as 1 in 4 students will suffer from mental health problems. Of the estimated 2.5 million new university starters, 625,000 will experience mental health problems. This is an exceedingly large number and calls into question why there has been no greater government involvement on the issue. Even more alarming has been the information released by the Royal college of Psychiatrists which has confirmed that university students are more at risk from mental health problems than other young people their age. Although many universities do offer a counselling service to all students and staff, further investigation shows that resources are being woefully stretched to almost breaking point.

Dr. Mark Phippen, head of counselling at Cambridge University, has suggested that in a typical university scenario one counsellor could be responsible for up to four or five thousand students. That is an extremely high proportion of students for just one counsellor to deal with. The impact is not only felt by students unable to access services, but also those staff who are often overwhelmed with the volume of students they have to attend to. In addition, the Royal College of Psychiatrists have reported that funding cuts in this department continue even with these startling statistics. Since 2008, there has been a reported 33% increase in the demand for counselling services simultaneously highlighting the increased pressures students are under as well as the need for resources to be allocated. With more than a quarter of students who have experienced mental health problems not receiving the necessary support, it is imperative that more is done to help those in need before it is too late. suicide_male_wall

Long waiting lists, inadequate staff support and lack of funding are some of the issues surrounding student mental health but there does seem to be a shifting of mind-set amongst those in power. Dr Grant, from the universities representative body Universities UK, has confirmed that a good practice guideline model for student mental health and Wellbeing has been created and it will be followed by all universities that are part of the body. Although this is a small step, it must be recognised as an important one nonetheless. Already there is a sense from many universities that the issue of student mental health is being addressed more seriously. At Royal Holloway University, there has been a marked overhaul to their admissions policy to ensure applicants with mental health problems are judged on their own criteria. Using a twin-tracked application process, the university is able to judge prospective applicants on both exam results as well as health needs. This enables the university to assess what specific care each applicant requires and whether the university can provide the appropriate services.

Furthermore, UMHAN believes that through such simple measures as installing access ramps, hearing loops and making sure factors such as lecture theatres are properly adapted, students with learning disabilities lives will be incredibly enhanced. Although the attitudes towards tackling student mental health have improved, on the evidence there is still more that can and should be done. It is time we removed the stigma associated with mental health to ensure all those who are suffering are given the support and care necessary for them to lead a fulfilled life.

In the words of Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, “Nobody should suffer alone”

Ayanda Velempini

Highs and Lows of #substancemisuse @nolimitshelp

As the UK is gripped by more unrelenting bad weather as the months pass by, there seems to be one thing that is finally loosening its hold. Substance abuse among young people. In an age where the media give us very little to cheer, this should undoubtedly be seen as a small, yet crucial, step in the right direction.

Despite our young people being the European leader in alcohol consumption, a report released by Public Health England has indicated that there was actually a fall in young people seeking help for substance misuse. This is now the fourth year in a row that the trend has continued. Clearly something is working.

On the surface the statistics look very appealing but as we peek behind the curtain, it becomes apparent there is another monster lurking in wait. Legal Highs. The relative ease of access has meant these have become extremely popular, especially among young people. A recent study conducted by World Drug Report indicated that over 670,000 Britons aged between 15-24 had tried legal highs at least once. Although the feeling with many young people may be, “Well if its legal I should be fine” the reality is much starker. As frequency of use increases, so have the inevitable problems. As per the BBC, last year saw a record high number of 52 people die from legal highs or as they put it, “an average of one a week.” Alison Ward, from No Limits, recently spoke to Radio Solent about legal highs and gave the views of charity. You can hear the full interview here.

There is no doubt that substance abuse is intrinsically linked with the vulnerability of an individual.  With over 30% of the child population in Southampton in poverty, this makes them extremely susceptible and vulnerable to such situations.  At No Limits, we have a project named DASH which aims to help young people get information, advice and support if they are struggling with any kind of substance abuse.

So next time you or anyone you know of goes through troubling times with substance misuse, pop in to one of our drop in centres  to find some support and help.

Ayanda Velempini

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#Youngpeople today are living in a world which has changed dramatically. This is the digital era – the age of social media – whole lives are projected online via sites such as Facebook and Instagram. The world is rapidly evolving and young people are facing a life where terms like cyber-bullying, ‘Facebooking’ and ‘going viral’ are the norm. On top of this the opportunities to advance their lives and carve successful careers are limited compared to previous years, thanks to the relentless stagnation of our economy. Older generations are staying in work longer thanks to increased pension age and longer life spans and free higher education is a thing of the past, potentially restricting individuals from getting better job. Those who do go to university face enormous fees of up to £9000 a year and a lifetime riddled with debt. Many public sector organisations and private companies have reduced their apprenticeship schemes and youths are scrabbling in their hundreds and thousands for low or unpaid internships even if they have degrees.

Life is not easy for young people of today.

“Teenagers and young people have an unmapped mountain to climb and most of them already have grit under their fingernails from making a damn good try. We shouldn’t be bashing them – we should look a little harder at what we’ve done.”

But what about young people who are living in poverty, as well as facing the general problems of growing up in a recession-riddled digital age? Can we really blame the kids or are they victims of their era? In contrary to the (sometimes) mass perceived notion of young people – especially those who end up on benefits – is that this is their choice; their accountability. Most young people do not aspire to a life in the dole queue and want the opportunities many poverty-stricken baby-boomers had in their time. Social mobility is more inert than ever and blaming young people for their inability to progress is unfair and short sighted.

What can be done to help young people in poverty in the UK?

Many charities like No Limits, offer an olive branch and the prospect of enabling young people to take positive steps towards a better life – a future which may not have been deemed possible by the young person.

Thanks to the generous donations we’ve received and the money raised for No Limits, we have been able to raise some of the funds to send four young people to complete The Challenge Adventure Charities Rad Vlaanderen Stuttgart Challenge 2013 at the end of September, which is in aid of Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.

By including disadvantaged young people in this challenge we are supporting them in their quest for a positive life and better future. The skills and experience they will inevitably gain will be transferable to many aspects of their lives and increase overall confidence.

“I am at the beginning of my adult life, just starting to find my feet. I struggled in the past due to criminal behaviour, always looking for ways to get money but I am now realising my potential working with No Limits. I was referred by Probation to No Limits. Their Next Steps project always helps keep me busy and active. I enjoy cycling to get out and to keep fit and am really looking forward to the trip if we can raise enough to participate”

Young people of today are facing such adversity and struggle – let’s start helping them pave the way for a positive future by providing opportunities like the Rad Bike Challenge. Help support charities like No Limits who enable young people to help themselves.

Give some of our young people – disadvantaged or not – credit for fighting back against the problematic society we live in today. Let’s help them move forward and enable them to make something of their lives, irrespective of background or financial wealth.

Young people are more resilient than we think. Let’s help them, not crush them.

Max Willis

Marketing & Communications Intern

No Limits

Want a successful business? Donate to Charities

Non profit organisations and charities such as #nolimitshelp work hard to invest in ways to help the community and provide invaluable services to people often in need. By investing in your community, you or your company could give back to the community who potentially keep your business afloat.

By helping a local charity raise funds by volunteering your time, or donating, the list of benefits to you on a personal level and your company is endless.

There can be many ways of measuring success, so “it’s really important to have some clear goals in mind, and make sure those are shared and delivered for both partners”, as well as a clear exit strategy that leaves the charity in a better place.

“Charities sometimes say they find it challenging working with business, so having a good cultural fit between the two organisations is also vital.”

There are tangible advantages to giving back to the community too. For one thing if you give enough, you’ll be able to reduce the tax you pay based on charitable deduction on your income tax.  Information can be found on HM Revenue & Customs website. Why not increase your business profile too? By being affiliated with a charity that helps the local community, more potential customers may become aware of your business. Also it makes your company look good by adopting ‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)’.

Although this is usually a term associated with big companies and brands, it’s still important to socially aware and accountable within a local community. Within our current society and austere economical climate, people are becoming disillusioned with corporate fat cats and companies who make huge profits but give nothing back to the communities who helped them thrive. By helping charities, you help yourselves as a business and the community – that’s a win-win situation, surely?

“When companies implement ‘strategic CSR’ they can find there are many benefits, including strengthened corporate and brand reputations and enhanced trust with key stakeholders (customers, employees, regulatory agencies, suppliers, and investors), improved risk management, increased revenues from innovation to identify new business opportunities, and reduced costs from efficiency improvements. “Chris Howells, Forbes

How can you specifically help No Limits?

Businesses are well placed to help No Limits by:

  • organising  a team building event e.g. refurbishing a room,
  • encourage employee volunteering with us
  • donating gifts in kind e.g. food, office furniture, prizes, venues
  • nominating No Limits as your charity of the year giving us publicity and greatly needed funds.
  • developing payroll giving e.g. so a proportion of employees pay goes directly to No Limits in a tax efficient manner
  • offering  a secondment e.g. to support an area of need within No Limits
  • By helping support local charities who help those less fortunate than others, we can strengthen the resolve of our local people, as well increasing awareness of local businesses, which in turn serves the community. By working together we can strive to bring back a sense of unity in our communities.

    We are all part of our society, so we have to take responsibility for it.

    Help others and help yourselves.

    Max Willis

    Marketing & Communications Intern

    No Limits, City

    #YoungParents Should Read This

    Life is a lottery and where you are born can mean everything…

    The #DuchessofCambridge is in labour and the #RoyalBaby’s birth is imminent. The press are waiting with baited breath, “boy or girl, future king or queen?” What a life awaits this child. No financial concerns will dog its parents, no housing problems or school dinner money worries will keep them awake at night. A life without many of the problems facing parents in the UK today.

    What about young parents? For them life can be tough on myriad levels. For those who lack the vital support of an extended family unit, parenthood can be even harder. Isolation can have a devastating effect on a young parent and create future problems for the children. In addition, young parents often face a barrage of criticism and judgement from the media who continue to stigmatise them in the press. Some may feel left out by their child-free peers who don’t have time for them anymore, as well as facing a future without a formal education – limiting future job prospects. Others slip into a life using drugs and alcohol to combat seclusion.

    The list is endless, but there is hope.

    No Limits run a project for young parents called Bright Beginnings. By working on an individual basis with young people we aim to extend our knowledge and experience of parenthood to those who need a little extra help and support. No Limits encourage young people who are pregnant or who have small children under two to maintain good relationships with people and build strong, positive connections with their children. The Bright Beginnings’ mentors are focused on building parenting confidence, encouraging and teaching the methods that will enable their children to flourish.

    Young people will continue to have babies in the UK despite the customary sex education in schools and the rudimentary knowledge of how tough life can be as a parent. When it does happen though, instead of dismissing and condemning, we should continue to offer ways of improving an outcome which could be potentially disastrous long-term.

    If you are a young parent who needs our help, please visit us at No Limits, 24A Bernard Street, Southampton, SO14 3AY or call 02380236237

    If you would like to volunteer as a Bright Beginnings Mentor, get it touch – No Limits need you! If you would like to provide No Limits with much needed financial support to continue fundamental services then send £3 via TEXT to NLMO1.