Don’t Brush It Under the Carpet- new campaign launched to raise awareness of the issue of self-harm in older people

Today, (Tuesday 1st March) Greater Manchester has launched a new campaign to improve mental wellbeing and raise awareness of self-harm in older people.

Recent research shows that older people who self-harm are at 67 times greater risk of suicide than the general older population and almost three times greater than the relative risk of suicide among younger people who self-harm.

The new campaign ‘Don’t Brush It Under the Carpet’, which was launched at the Greater Manchester Ambition for Ageing celebration event, aims to reach and support older residents who may be feeling depressed and alone and guide them to the right support for them. The campaign also aims to raise awareness of the issue of self-harm and older people, amongst carers, family members and health professionals to enable them to support residents who may be struggling.

The campaign, which has been funded by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and builds on their existing Shining A Light on Suicide Campaign, has been created by a working group made up of representatives from the Shining a Light on Suicide Campaign, Greater Manchester Older People’s Network, Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, health professionals and a focus group of older residents.

This campaign’s concept is themed around common phrases and sayings that residents would be familiar with and relate to including don’t brush it under the carpet and a problem shared is a problem halved.

Polly Kaiser, Consultant Clinical Psychologist Oldham and Clinical Lead Older Peoples' psychological therapies, Pennine Care said: “These shocking statistics debunk any myths that self-harm is an issue only for young people. We know that recovery statistics are positive for older people. Poor mental wellbeing is not an inevitable part of ageing and this campaign is integral in raising societal awareness of this and encouraging older people to seek help and not ‘brush it under the carpet’."

Gillian Stainthorpe, Greater Manchester Older Peoples Network Steering Group Member said: “This new campaign is really important because it is helping to break the taboo around older people’s mental wellbeing and encouraging them to seek support. The campaign’s strength has been the involvement of older people working on equal terms with professionals from the very beginning. Their voices have been crucial in shaping the direction of the campaign and raising awareness of self-harm and older people.”

Accessing support: 

  • Talk to someone: Tell a friend, family member or someone you trust how you are feeling.

  • Speak to your GP: Your GP can arrange for you to receive support from the right services. If you need support out of hours call NHS 111

  • Text Shout: If you prefer to talk to someone over text message, Shout offer confidential support 24/7. Text: SHOUT to 85258

  • Join an online community: Join Mind’s online community Side by Side, it’s an online space where you can listen, share and be heard. Visit sidebyside.mind.org.uk

  • Call the Samaritans on 116 123: Whatever you are going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. They are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You can find out more about the campaign and the support available to residents on the campaign webpage: Older People | Shining a Light on Suicide.

If you would like to help support in promoting this campaign, please get in touch by emailing Suziee.cassels@greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk to receive a Campaign Toolkit.

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