This November Phase is running a campaign across many of the church's encouraging people to sign up to support our work with young people struggling with self-harm.

Each Monday, we will post the information that was shared across church's the previous Sunday. Here is the first instalment.

So who is Phase?

Phase was founded by the Churches Together in Hitchin in 2002 and exists to support the development of wellbeing in young people. Phase aim to enable young people to develop resilience, the ability to cope with the stresses of life, and to live and thrive in today’s world.

Phase understands that growing up is full of challenges and hard decisions - whoever you are - and so Phase want to be there for all young people, providing support, encouragement and equipping them for the future.

Phase works across our primary and secondary schools here in Hitchin connecting with over 3000 young people every week. The Phase team consists of 2 full-time staff (Kieran and Paul), 2 part-time staff (Amanda and Donna) and 50 volunteers, who provide help and support in all areas of the organisation from delivering workshops to admin, from church reps to designing the website.

Over the next 4 weeks, we will be taking 4 minutes each Sunday to hear about a key issue facing young people that Phase are tackling, so that our young people can live life to the full as it says in John 10:10. Each week we will hear a story, some stats and facts about the issue and also a prayer written by people both young people and adults who have had experience with this issue.

What is the issue?

Hands up if you have ever heard of the term – self-harm?
What is self-harm? Self-harm is a coping behaviour; a physical way of coping with emotional distress. It involves a person deliberately hurting their body in any kind of way in order to relieve difficult emotions.

Self-harm is something that around 20% of young people struggle with, that’s 1 in 5 of all young people – roughly 800 here in Hitchin. It affects girls and boys, those from single parent families and those from stable homes. Phase are passionate about supporting those young people who are struggling with self-harm and want to equip every young person, family member and every member of school staff with understanding, knowledge and the tools to support those who are struggling.

Phase has stepped out in faith and employed Donna Wade, a subject matter expert to lead this work so that young people get the support they need.

Story: Laura is 13 and is year 9 at secondary school. Laura has been struggling for a while but has not previously engaged with any support offered - she finds it really hard to talk to people about how she feels and what is going on in her life. Last term everything got too much for Laura and she took an overdose and ended up in hospital. Eventually Laura returned to school and went straight into a Phase assembly that was all about their ‘Let’s Talk’ video, which you can view via their website. During this assembly Laura was encouraged to talk to someone about how she was feeling, through the video and the stories Laura decided to come forward afterwards to ask for help. She is now about to start a Phase self-harm support group and is starting the brave journey of recovery.

For Phase to deliver these 9 courses, train a team of 10 volunteers and provide on going mentoring to 54 students like Laura, Phase needs to raise £15,000 – a large amount, however, you can help them to do this by donating just £4.
What does £4 buy you? Two small coffees from a shop, a couple of large chocolate bars, 4-5 apps on your phone, a few music singles, a magazine or a newspaper over a couple days. £4 is not much, but what will it buy for Phase?
£4 will provide the self-harm support course handbook for a young person, £4 per month provides 1:1 support for a young person going through the struggles of self-harm, or a lesson for 30 young people on how to stay mentally healthy.

Stats on self-harm:

10% of young people experience a mental health problem at any given time
That is around 400 young people in Hitchin

Stigma and discrimination are the biggest reasons students like Laura do not access help

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
We pray on behalf of young people who feel trapped, scared, alone and helpless.

We petition you to bring tangible hope to them in times of desperation, to bring them genuine peace in times of anxiety, and a holy perspective in times of confusion.

Will your spirit protect them from fear and negativity, and speak liberating truth into their lives.

We ask that you'll give them the words to express their complex feelings and surround them with loving friends and family.

Will your spirit be their fortress and defender, their guide and comfort.
We trust in your holy name,
Amen

If you would like to support this work then it is very easy, you can text: MAKE05 £5 to 70070 right now. However, the best way to support Phase, to help them make a lasting impact and to see the issue of self-harm in Hitchin decrease is to sign up to become a Phase Partner, £4 per month will provide the support these young people need.