Tag Archives: Southampton

Novel Psychoactive Substances. Research chemicals. Legal Highs.????? #DASH #Youngpeople

Novel Psychoactive Substances.  Research chemicals.  Legal Highs.  None of these terms seems right to describe the growing number of compounds available which, despite being marked as room deodorisers, bath salts, plant food or whatever else, are bought on the assumption that taking the contents will bring on some kind of buzz.
Novel, or even New, Psychoactive Substances is such a clumsy and unwieldy phrase as to be almost unusable. The abbreviation NPS is hardly better. Research Chemicals at least suggests there is something unknown or undiscovered about the substance, but also hints that whatever it is might be cutting edge in some way, rather than a shot in the dark taken to stay one step ahead of the legal system.
Legal highs, as has been pointed out, suggests a degree of safety for the contents, by hinting that the chemical is somehow approved, rather than not specifically legislated against. The problem is, legal highs is the easiest of the phrases to say, and so the most likely to be used day to day.
I’d like to suggest the term N-Chems, meaning new chemicals, to refer to these substances which are more recently being taken.  It is relatively easy to say, and doesn’t imply that the substance is safe when its effects really are likely to be largely unknown.
What do you think?  Are there any better suggestions?  Ask around, and let us know…

Phil Lord No Limits DASH Recovery Worker

At No Limits our DASH service can give you information, advice, support and counselling around substance misuse and offers a variety of treatments, including harm reduction and needle exchange. You can learn more about the substance you are using, their effects and risks and learn how to keep yourself safe if using drugs or alcohol.

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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

@Nolimitshelp Guest blog by @RowennaDavis Does working hard pay? #youngpeople #NEET

No Limits

No Limits: Helping young people help themselves.

It’s funny how one conversation with a stranger can completely change your views on things. I bet this young person doesn’t even remember talking to me. I met him doing some youth outreach work. He’d stolen some trainers and I was trying to figure out why we were seeing a spike in crime. I remember saying to him, convinced I was right:
“Why would you risk a criminal record just to get a pair of shoes? If that’s what you want, why not work hard at school and get a decent job? Then you could get a new pair every month!” He barely looked up before he gave his answer: “My brother worked really hard at school and went to uni – he’s not got a job, just a bunch of debt. So why should I?”
To be honest, I was stumped. He had a point. Although there’s no excuse for criminal behaviour, too often young people feel that looking for work in the usual way won’t get them anywhere.
The old deal that said if you work hard, you will get a decent job and live in security. Too often this doesn’t apply to this generation. Even if you’re talented and hardworking, you’re lucky to get a job on poverty pay with a zero hour’s contract.
This kind of wasted talent and lack of opportunity is one of the key reasons I’m standing for election in Southampton. We in the Labour Party believe that if you work hard and put the effort in, it will pay off and you will get a decent job. It’s one of the reasons we offer a jobs guarantee for young people who have been out of work for a year.
Of course it will take more than politicians to turn this around. If you’ve got some free time, why not think about volunteering to help the excellent work of No Limits? If you’re a business leader think about what extra work experience and apprenticeships you can offer.
Although right now I’m just a candidate, I’m trying to do my bit by offering work experience to young people interested in politics, so get in touch if you’re interested!
Together we can stop young people feeling like the young man I met, and give them faith that their hard work will pay off.

Guest Blogger Rowenna Davis  Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Southampton Itchen

Rowenna can be contacted at rowenna@southampton-labour.org.uk

Rowena Davis

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

My learning curve:Combating homo/transphobia #gay #lesbian @nolimitshelp

Gay Flag Until I became a charity fundraiser for No Limits I was, for many years, in primary education. It is only recently that I have began to understand and realise the full extent of the prejudice suffered by young people who are LGBT ( lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender).

One of my current projects is fundraising for Breakout Youth, a charity that supports young (13 to 21 years old) LGBT young people in Hampshire. Here are some facts that I gleaned in my trawl for information. There is much more information on a range of sites such as Stonewall.

National stats show that LGBT young people are:

  • 2 to 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth.
  • At much higher risk than the heterosexual population of substance abuse.
  • At least 7 times more likely to be crime victims than heterosexual people.
  • More likely to contract HIV (gay young men)
  • More likely to be homeless (40% of homeless youth are identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual)
  • More likely to be rejected (50% of all gay and lesbian youth report that their parents reject them).

If you are:

  • an individual concerned with the extremely widespread issue of violence against and amongst school children and students
  • a teacher or other educational staff who takes seriously every child’s right to be safe at school and to receive a quality education
  • an organisation working on the rights of the child
  • an organisation working on gender-based violence
  • an organisation working on the rights for sexual and gender minorities
  • a local authority, city council, local government,…. which has a mandate on education
  • a trade union working on the right to education
  • or any other constituency concerned with this issue

Then look here  for more information to help you combat homo/transphobia.

If you live in Hampshire and need support, advice and help  about issues around sexuality then contact Breakout Youth or No Limits.

No Limits: Helping Young People Help themselves