“Slowly killing myself.”

3rd September 2019

“Slowly killing myself.” This was the realisation of one client being helped by self-harm awareness charity, SAFA Cumbria. A breakthrough after funded counselling sessions empowered her to take responsibility for the changes she wanted to see.

For this client, rape, sexual assault and bullying led to self-harming and anorexia and she was hospitalised due to very low weight and restricting herself of food. As well as cutting her arms and legs and having had a recent suicide attempt, it was time for SAFA to step in.

Based on Duke Street in Barrow, it provides free British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) accredited counselling and support for those who self-harm, and for their immediate families and carers.

£10,000 from the Barrow Community Trust Fund, Cumbria Young People’s Fund, Fryer Grassroots Fund and Moorhouse Grassroots Fund enabled the charity to provide interim counselling support to 25 people while a major application to The National Lottery Community Fund was pending.

By being given a confidential space to work through her issues, the client was given support to work on her self-image and confidence and develop coping strategies to deal with the issues she faced. She was able to take on different challenges such as applying for jobs and doing her driving test. By the final session she described herself as feeling “comfortable being me”, and “able to properly function as a person again”.

Locally, demand on SAFA has never been higher, with the 11 to 19 age group accounting for roughly half of the total client’s staff are trained to support. There is currently a waiting list of people who need support and if the interim funding had not been secured, it would have left a large hole in provision.

The application to The National Lottery Community Fund was successful in April 2019, securing almost £300,000 over three years.

Project Manager, Keiran Hart, said: “We help people suffering with bulimia, anorexia, burning themselves and cutting – it’s a range of things which this funding has helped provide counselling sessions for.”