Young people from Monmouthshire and health professionals have developed a valuable website offering support and advice for those living with self-harm.  Entitled Buddy, the new resource meets a need for an online outlet offering information, guidance, therapeutic tools and options that young people can access at all times.  It provides confidential support and techniques to help deal with negative thoughts and feelings associated with self-harm and reassures those experiencing difficult times that they are not alone.

 The Buddy website was launched at Abergavenny’s King Henry VIII School on Friday 18th November in association with International Men’s Day which took place the following day.  The theme of this year’s annual international event is Stop Male Suicide and its aim is to raise awareness of mental health issues affecting men.  Staff from Monmouthshire’s Youth Service delivered a workshop to pupils to focus on the importance of talking about their feelings and the impact of mental health and male suicide.

 Buddy hopes to break down barriers associated with the sensitive subject of self-harm and to help people talk openly, making them aware of ways of coping, available options and accessing support when they feel able to do so.  The website has been designed as a response to an increase in self-harming behaviour by young people evidenced by health, education and counselling professionals in recent years. The website has been supported by not-for-profit organisation Heads Above the Waves which raises awareness of depression and self-harm in young people have provided personal accounts and stories for the site. To find out more and get help from Buddy – go to buddyapp.monmouthshire.gov.uk

 Geoff Burrows Cabinet member for Social Care and Health said:

 “It is so vitally important that when people are managing with sensitive issues in their lives such as self-harming, that they can feel confident to approach discreet ways to support them such as Buddy especially when that help is underpinned by others who have faced and continue to face the very same challenges.”

 Buddy has been funded by Public Health Wales to support people who self-harm in Wales.  The Monmouthshire Safeguarding Unit & Quality Assurance Unit and the Monmouthshire Public Service Board – which includes professionals from Public Health Wales, Aneurin Bevan Health Board and the county council – have worked together to develop the website.  Young people who have received support from the Monmouthshire Youth Service Face To Face counselling service have been integral to the design and content of the website from the outset.