Life is full of curveballs, perceived obstacles and at times, serendipity. It was a culmination of all three that led to me getting to write a chapter in a book. Often is the case, that when somebody writes a chapter, like mine, that they have a lived experience of the topic but that wasn’t the case with mine. The reason I opted for the topic of Self-harm is simple, it was due to a lack of understanding on my own behalf of the issue.
Part of my professional life involves the delivery of a key programme that tries to demystify suicide and remove the taboo element to it, that course is called SafeTALK. It is facilitated through the Health Service Executive (HSE) which is the Irish Health Department. In delivering this programme, often times questions are asked, some of which I would be able to answer, other times, not so much, but one running theme of the questions is around the difference between self-harm and suicide, I’d be asked, “Is there a link?” or ” does self-harm lead to suicidal thoughts”, or “how do I approach somebody that is self-harming”. The fact of the matter is, I simply did not know!
How best do we remedy this? Immerse yourself in the literature and learn. That is why I wrote about the topic of self-harm. I read copious material of the subject and tried to collate it into an easy to read chapter, so, that’s what it is. It is a chapter written by somebody who wanted to know more, found out, and then created “A little cut here, a little cut there, who would see, who would care?”
In saying all this, mine is but a fragment of the overall book. Within the pages, you will find so much more topical chapters, all of which are written with passion, experience and care.
A brief synopsis of each chapter:
Suicide and me: a personal reflection – A story of how it felt for a young girl to experience the loss of her mother to suicide and how she dealt with it throughout her life. (Phil Noone)
What’s the Wi-Fi Password? Millennials and Mental Health – This chapter looks at some of the challenges of being a Millennial where the focus of life has changed in a very telescoped period from face to face interaction to face to screen interaction. (Niall McElwee)
Death and Grief – This chapter explores the area of grief. Having lost her father and brother during her teens, the author shares her own story, her experience through the five stages of grief to finding acceptance. Her aim is to help those suffering from loss. (Meghann Scully)
Exploring Mental Health: A Counsellor’s Perspective – This chapter explores the concepts of counselling and therapy before providing some advice on how to achieve and sustain positive mental health. (John Byrne)
Young People, Mental Health and Wellness – This chapter examines a lot of the pressures that those of the millennial age face on a daily basis, be it in the normal day to day or in cyberspace. The focus is drawn especially on the pressures that social media place on people. (Susan McKenna)
Let’s Talk about Sex, Baby: Millennials and Sexuality in the U.S. -With a title like that we don’t need much of a description but it is expertly written. The chapter explores the changing folkways of sexuality in the new age. (A personal favourite to read). (Rebecca Housel)
A Little Cut Here, A Little Cut There, Who Would See, Who Would Care? – An exploration into self-harm, its connection with suicidal ideation, myth-busting some “facts” and how best you can help somebody who you fear to be “at risk”. (John Madden)
Afraid of the Future, Failure and being a ‘Freak’ – The title alone will resonate with pretty much everybody. We are nearly always our own worst critics, but in this chapter, the reader is told how this struggle is not unique to a handful of people, and how isolating it can be to be ‘different’. (Heidi Messenger)
Swing of the Pendulum – This chapter involves a lived experience of childhood hospitalisation and how that impacted the author throughout her life. The lesson to be learned from this chapter is about overcoming the past and building resilience. (Ger Molloy)
Truly Present Friends in a Time of Virtual Friendship – This chapter deals with the changing nature of friendship for Millennials as oppose to generations before them. It scrutinizes the advantages and disadvantages of making and sustaining friends in a virtual world in comparison to more traditional ways of interacting. (Conor Hogan)
That is 10 chapters from 10 very different people. 10 stories that will surely resonate with the readers, and it is something that I am very proud to be a part of. There will be a series of five books, each of which will broach a multitude of issues that face the current generation and maybe even, beyond.
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