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BBC Radio 5 Live disscusion on self-harming

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I was slightly disapointed with the discussion on radio 5 regarding self-harming. Although the girl who does self harm who was involved in the discussion was brave to talk about her problems; i don't feel it addressed any issues with self-harming other than relating it to 'teenage transition' things.
There needs to be a discussion about self-harming that continues through to working age mental health, how we can work through this and relay to the media that this too is a problem and self-harming doesn't always go away once you are past your teenage years, neither can can it always start at that point.

Did you listen in? What were your thoughts?

BBx

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I did listen and in fairness to the presenter (who was leading the direction of the discussion) it was responding to a report about young people being admitted to hospital after self-harm so it wasn't really ever meant to be about 'adults' (remember most people in the wider world stop thinking we're young after uni or so).

    Having said that, discussions about self-harm in older young people are few and far between, as though everyone figures we've all quit after turning 18.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    I did listen and in fairness to the presenter (who was leading the direction of the discussion) it was responding to a report about young people being admitted to hospital after self-harm so it wasn't really ever meant to be about 'adults' (remember most people in the wider world stop thinking we're young after uni or so).

    Having said that, discussions about self-harm in older young people are few and far between, as though everyone figures we've all quit after turning 18.

    They were reffering to a report, as you may know they need to use sources in there dissussion to allow the listener how the main issue- in this case self harm- is affected in society. I don't think this was the main part of the disscusion.
    Even if it wasn't "meant to be about adults" they should have got across that this isn't just a problem for young people, we know it is common, though, does not always 'go away' shall we say, post teenage years.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Surely it depends what you want to discuss?

    You've got no hope of a discussion covering the full spectrum of self harm within one radio show, that just won't work.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Surely it depends what you want to discuss?

    You've got no hope of a discussion covering the full spectrum of self harm within one radio show, that just won't work.

    Surely it doesn't take long to elaborate on the fact that self-harming isn't just confined to 'teenagers'?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    They were reffering to a report, as you may know they need to use sources in there dissussion to allow the listener how the main issue- in this case self harm- is affected in society. I don't think this was the main part of the disscusion.
    Even if it wasn't "meant to be about adults" they should have got across that this isn't just a problem for young people, we know it is common, though, does not always 'go away' shall we say, post teenage years.

    It was only about 15-20 mins, with three guests that's not time to cover all that. But as I said, I agree that issue is not widely discussed.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I only caught part of the discussion on catchup.

    There always has to be a handle for any of these discussions, in this case it was YouthNet and the BBC drawing attention to a report showing how the problems are getting worse for young people. It isn't that other people don't do it, it's that there has to be a specific purpose to a short segment on any radio show and that was the specific purpose. I think any discussion of self-harm is a good discussion, even if the discussion is about young people it applies to older people too. The same reasons apply- people turn to self-harm when they don't know how to cope any other way.

    I do understand where you are coming from but I think it is easy, as someone who self-harms, to get drawn into the viewpoint that it is easy behaviour for people to accept. It isn't. It is shocking for a lot of people that people could do that to themselves- part of the reason why YouthNet and other charities talk about their self-harm support work when they're writing funding bids. I was at a conference for student money advisers last month and several delegates were horrified in the mental health workshop about the thought of self-injury, with several asking how on earth anyone could do that to themselves. It's a common attitude, not born out of malice or even a lack of empathy but simply out of a lack of understanding. And these are people who, like me, work with university and college students every day. Any media attention is, at first, good attention, even if it is talking about different demographics.

    We get self-injury on the agenda before we worry about anything else.

    As for the bravery of the young woman talking about her experience, can I just say she was fantastic. I was roped into doing something similar for YouthNet several years ago, talking about my self-harm to a room full of 350 or so journalists, and it is bloody hard to be honest like that. Pass on my regards mod team!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As for the bravery of the young woman talking about her experience, can I just say she was fantastic. I was roped into doing something similar for YouthNet several years ago, talking about my self-harm to a room full of 350 or so journalists, and it is bloody hard to be honest like that. Pass on my regards mod team!

    +1 this. Hardest thing I ever did, that. Aside from the, "er....I don't know :blush:".
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As for the bravery of the young woman talking about her experience, can I just say she was fantastic. I was roped into doing something similar for YouthNet several years ago, talking about my self-harm to a room full of 350 or so journalists, and it is bloody hard to be honest like that. Pass on my regards mod team!

    Seconded, I should have said that from the off.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Agree with the lot above.

    Agreement in P&D - now that must say something.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    It isn't that other people don't do it, it's that there has to be a specific purpose to a short segment on any radio show and that was the specific purpose. I think any discussion of self-harm is a good discussion, even if the discussion is about young people it applies to older people too.

    I do understand where you are coming from but I think it is easy, as someone who self-harms, to get drawn into the viewpoint that it is easy behaviour for people to accept. It isn't. It is shocking for a lot of people that people could do that to themselves.
    I was at a conference for student money advisers last month and several delegates were horrified in the mental health workshop about the thought of self-injury, with several asking how on earth anyone could do that to themselves. It's a common attitude, not born out of malice or even a lack of empathy but simply out of a lack of understanding.
    Any media attention is, at first, good attention, even if it is talking about different demographics.

    I do have to disagree with you with some points.

    I know that the focus was on young people, namely teenagers, though they were not explaining how this doesn't always stop post those years, if you were to start self harming from those age ranges. Most people know that yes, people who are older self-harm but it's highlighting the fact this isn't some teenage angst behaviour as it gives the wrong impression.

    I'm not saying it is about it being 'easy behaviour for people to accept.' One way or another, the information needs to be there. I know it's not easy, trust me, but then you could say alot of the things you read or hear about in the news anyway are not easy. Things in todays society need to move on. If we don't have a great aspect on self-harming i think this is one topic that can be misinterperted.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I still think you are asking too much for a 15 min slot on a particular topic.

    Maybe there's another discussion out there on self harm beyond teenage years - bu it's a different discussion to the one that was on the show.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I still think you are asking too much for a 15 min slot on a particular topic.

    Maybe there's another discussion out there on self harm beyond teenage years - bu it's a different discussion to the one that was on the show.

    I agree.

    Mentioning self harm in a wider context would have only led to a) part of the original, planned discussion being missed and b) someone getting pissed off because they had to cut off the resulting conversation.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I still think you are asking too much for a 15 min slot on a particular topic.

    Maybe there's another discussion out there on self harm beyond teenage years - bu it's a different discussion to the one that was on the show.

    Well i think that just assuming that it only starts from young adults is the wrong message. I'm not saying for them to go on and on where is takes longer but getting their information together to adknowledge there is more to it. Also, unlike a lot of people on this disscusion board, people who listen in don't know anything or very little. Self-harm is a problem in young people but leaving it at that and maybe not just covering small key points about how it could develop further down the years i think would be acceptable and suitable.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I agree.

    Mentioning self harm in a wider context would have only led to a) part of the original, planned discussion being missed and b) someone getting pissed off because they had to cut off the resulting conversation.

    No, it is not about it being in a wider context. its about addressing it in a manner that gives the viewer as much information as they can fit, the accosiation on just self-harm is when you are young doesn't seem complete to me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I know that the focus was on young people, namely teenagers, though they were not explaining how this doesn't always stop post those years, if you were to start self harming from those age ranges. Most people know that yes, people who are older self-harm but it's highlighting the fact this isn't some teenage angst behaviour as it gives the wrong impression.

    I've finished listening to it on the iPlayer and there was never any assertion that it's "teenage angst" behaviour. The presenter and the panellists, including from YouthNet, were very careful to make sure that it was not presented as teenage attention-seeking, rather as a genuine and concerning problem. I thought it was very sympathetically done. However you're also missing the point that self-harm usually does first present itself in adolescents and young adults rather than in older people; most adults who self-harm began doing so as adolescents.

    I think you need to be a little more realistic about how things are portrayed. It isn't a personal slight to focus on one demographic.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I still think it was really really well done - unusually there was no implication of it being teenage angst behaviour, and no implication that it's only a teenage problem.

    Well done YouthNet and BBC.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I still think it was really really well done - unusually there was no implication of it being teenage angst behaviour, and no implication that it's only a teenage problem.

    Well done YouthNet and BBC.


    The young woman talking from personal experience even said that, at 20, she doesn't feel 'over it'.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    there was never any assertion that it's "teenage angst" behaviour. The presenter and the panellists, including from YouthNet, were very careful to make sure that it was not presented as teenage attention-seeking, rather as a genuine and concerning problem.

    However you're also missing the point that self-harm usually does first present itself in adolescents and young adults rather than in older people; most adults who self-harm began doing so as adolescents.

    I think you need to be a little more realistic about how things are portrayed

    This is the way i perceived it which is a realistic view, thank you very much. I am simply highlighting what i feel could be different. I am also well aware that they were dissussing a genuine issue in young people. Again, i feel the way they could have elaborated on the things i mentioned in other posts.
    I also am well aware that even as mentioned in this interview that self harm can begin in adolecents. I was saying that this can continue post adolecent age, not necessarly just being a problem for young people which i felt they were not getting across in the interview.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm not really sure what you're after to be honest. There have been several reports recently about the poor academic performance of many young BME males so they have inevitably talked about why these people are performing poorly academically. It doesn't mean that only young BME males perform badly at school; it doesn't even mean that all BME males will perform badly at school. But if you start talking about all the other individuals who are performing badly at school you quickly lose the point you're trying to make.

    Among older people there are different demographics too. Studies show that SH in over-65s is more often followed by suicide and is often carried out by people with no prior history of mental health problems, compared to people of working age who self injure. Where do you draw the line in a 15-minute radio interview with a 20-year-old girl and a representative of a charity which works for people between the ages of 16 and 24?
  • patrick*gringo*patrick*gringo* Noob Posts: 147 Settling in
    Hi all - thought I would chip in to this thread as I'm Patrick the person that represented YouthNet (all too briefly) on yesterday's show on Five Live. It's really interesting to read your comments and thought I could add some of the backstory to how the piece came about.

    As the Health reporter and presenter Shelagh Fogerty mentioned in the piece- they were interested in the rise of the number of people presenting with self harm to A&E around the UK. Some people may find some of the images from the BBC Kent report triggering.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-14488552

    It's common for the media to take the statistics angle when reporting self harm. Even so it felt like a piece where we could be involved as an organisation. So often the media focusses on shock value, over simplification and sensationalism, e.g. how the internet has increased self harm, etc.

    They referred to the Mental Health Foundation probably because they supported the writing of the National Inquiry into Self Harm called Truth Hurts back in 2006. The one in 15, one in 12 figure in the article above comes from this. The media never really asks whether statistics point to more people being prepared to talk about the experience with self harm. Most seem to assume that it means that statistics reflect increase in self harm. If it is more people talking about it - it's significant because it means that socially the stigma of self harm is beginning to be challenged.

    So the stats was the basis for the piece.

    The context was the weekly health panel on Five Live. Dr Stuart who works on this, is also a regular on the Sunday Surgery http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/surgery/stuart.shtml

    YouthNet met him when we took part in the recent http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/surgery/sexnight/

    May be this is why we got the call late on Monday to take part in this piece on self harm.

    Young Minds were involved in putting this together http://www.vik.org.uk/. Over the last year or so YouthNet has been working more closely with Young Minds through the setting up of the Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition (bit of a mouthful) http://cypmhc.org.uk/about_our_members/core_members/

    In terms of the Five Live piece, we had very limited briefing before going into the studio on air about what the questions would be or what the gist of the discussion would be. Guess this is due to the reality of rolling on air talk radio more than anything else.

    In end, the presenter decided to focus mainly on the story of the young person explaining their experience of self harm. Much of the discussion was about the whats and the whys of self harm. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to get into the what needs to be done to improve the support services available (or could be developed) for people experiencing self harm.

    In terms of self harm and the perception that it's only a young person's issue. Even despite the progress that's been made in breaking down stereotypes, many still persist- including that self harm is only a young person's problem. This is clearly not the case. At the same time, the media can play an important role in supporting and better informing those young people who do experience self harm. So there's a balance to be struck when attempting to get messages out from broadcast media like radio.

    There's so much more that needs to be talked about and discussed. A 10-15 minute piece squeezed inbetween the news and the story about how television can kill you, is perhaps a small contribution but hopefully was an example of the media playing a positive role.

    Thanks again for all the comments :thumb:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm not really sure what you're after to be honest. There have been several reports recently about the poor academic performance of many young BME males so they have inevitably talked about why these people are performing poorly academically. It doesn't mean that only young BME males perform badly at school; it doesn't even mean that all BME males will perform badly at school. But if you start talking about all the other individuals who are performing badly at school you quickly lose the point you're trying to make.

    Among older people there are different demographics too. Studies show that SH in over-65s is more often followed by suicide and is often carried out by people with no prior history of mental health problems, compared to people of working age who self injure. Where do you draw the line in a 15-minute radio interview with a 20-year-old girl and a representative of a charity which works for people between the ages of 16 and 24?


    As i said in the previous post, I am simply highlighting what i feel could be different. I don't think it's about losing the point, i think a few small points could have been added to it, possibly in brief but constructive detail, on points i've already made in this thread. I think that most of the guests such as YouthNet were actually suitable i'm just expressing there could have been some adknowledgement to what the severity of self-harm could possibly turn out to be post adolecent age, hense what i've already written.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    +1 this. Hardest thing I ever did, that. Aside from the, "er....I don't know :blush:".

    Props to both of you for being brave, and the girl on the radio, and I do remember the "er....I don't know" :D was very endearing :p.

    I'm going to be honest and say I don't know enough about SH to make a well-informed comment on it, but I do massively believe MH issues are still stigmatised and not talked about enough. At least 1/4 of all workplace absences can be attributed to MH but this isn't really acknowledged anywhere in the business world, you just get your sicknote or call in with a tummy bug and deal with it. You're not supposed to be weak, employers may take the view that if you can't handle the stress you shouldn't do the job.

    Specifically SH I don't know how to get it on the agenda more. Something that concerns me about me personally talking about it openly a lot is it might end up being triggering. So it attracts that fear for me I guess.
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