history of self-harm activism, 1986 - 2004 mark cresswell for: the survivor history group

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  • History of Self-Harm Activism, 1986 - 2004Mark Cresswell


    The Survivor History Group

    Key Periods1986 1989 >>>>>>>> Looking at Self-Harm Conference

    1989 1995>>>>>>>>>>National Self-Harm Network (NSHN)

    1995 - 2000 >>>>>>>Cutting the Risk: Self-harm, Self-Care & Risk Reduction

    Why is self-harm activism necessary?Roger Jefferys 1979 research

    Self-Harmers classified as rubbish by nurses and punished for their behaviour

    2 roots of activism 1986 -1989FeministPsychiatric SurvivorThis is partly because we survive in societies which devalueour personal experiencesBut it is chiefly because we have survived an ostensibly helping system which places major obstacles across our path to self-determination (1992: 117);

    Looking at Self-Harm Conference (05/09/89)

    Louise PembrokeAndy SmithMaggy RossDiane Harrison

    Survivor Definitions of Self-HarmIll tell you what self-injury isnt and professionals take note...Its rarely a symptom of so-called psychiatric illness. Its not a suicide attemptSo what is it? Its a silent screamIts a visual manifestation of extreme distress. Those of us who self-injure carry our emotional scars on our bodies (Maggy Ross in Pembroke, 1994, p. 14).

    1989-1995 formation of NSHNPersonal Testimonies

    Louise Pembrokes political analysis

    National Self-Harm Network (NSHN)start a national network of people who have experience of self harmId like this network to become a campaigning organization (1995: 13).

    National Self-Harm Network (NSHN)Louise Pembroke:I could see the parallels between self-harm activism and that of other single issue groups such as the Hearing Voices Network; striving for recognition and validity of our expressions of distress and fighting for the right to self-determination and humane support. I saw this as a civil rights struggle

    National Self-Harm Network (1995-2000)The concept and practice of Harm-Minimisation:

    Self-harm is a continuum and we are all on it. . . . We . . all have a responsibility to limit the effects of our distress and self-harm on others. Stopping doesnt have to be a goal; rather the goal is managing it and finding the least damaging option. (Pembroke, 1999, p. 39)

    Harm-MinimisationAndy Smith:

    the role of the safety kit in clipping the cycle (in Pembroke, 1994, p. 19),

    The role of professionals in my ceasing to self-harm is negligible . . . an integral part of the damage was the vilification by the Accident & Emergency staff, so I would carry a safety kit consisting of:a clean sterile blade with which to cut myself, a tube of antiseptic cream, cotton wool, Butterfly steri-strips, plasters and a Crepe bandage. With this I could successfully limit the damage to myself, my self-esteem and my reputation.

    NSHN, 1995-2000 - MilestonesLooking After You And Your Injury (1998:19);Managing Other Peoples Responses (ibid.: 20-24);When You Feel Like Harming (ibid.: 45-47);Hearing Voices, Seeing Visions, Other Unusual Experiences And Self-Harm (ibid.: 61-70).

    The HurtYourself LessWorkbook (1998)

    By Eleanor Dace, Alison Faulkner, Miranda Frost, Karin Parker, LouisePembroke, Andy Smith

    NSHN, 1995-2000 - Milestones2 Risk Reduction conferences in London and Manchester to promote the concept of harm minimisation (Pembroke in NSHN, 2000: 6)

    Speakers included:SurvivorsNursesMedical Students Plastic surgeon British Red Cross worker.

    NSHN, 1995-2000 - MilestonesWidening the scope of allies:General Practitioners

    Medical Students

    Plastic Surgeon

    British Red Cross Skin Camouflage Service

    The charity Changing Faces

    NSHN and the achievement of dialogue (1989)[t]he only way forward is to end the silence. For people with direct experience to share their experiences, and for a dialogue to start between self-harmers and service agencies (Pembroke, 1994: 3).

    NSHN and the achievement of dialogue (1999)[t]he conferences addressed a very wide range of issuesinvolving as many experts by experience and professionals as we could fit inwe didnt want to get hooked into debating about the concept, we just wanted to get the information to the people.

    The Limits of Dialogue?1995

    NSHN meet with Senior Medical Officer at DOH

    - No Result?

    The Limits of Dialogue?Clinical Guideline 16 on Self-Harm:

    Louise Pembroke and Andy Smith had to resign from the Guideline Development GroupWhy?

    Democratic Deficits and the Evidence-Base?So, wheres the evidence of direct experience?How can you have a dialogue when the collective experience of the social movement is disqualified?

    The achievement back to Maggy RossIf self-harm is a silent scream not an experience that can be captured in a Randomised Controlled Trial - then the achievement of the movement is to have heard and done something about the silent scream