Self Harmony

Newcastle University || Northumbria University

16th - 17th April

Sign Up

About Self Harmony


The phrase ‘self-harm’ or ‘self-injury’ is used to describe when someone purposefully causes harm to himself or herself, often as a response to emotional pain. Self-harm encompasses a wide range of behaviours, from physical harm like burning, cutting and punching walls, to more discrete forms of harm, like abusing drugs or alcohol, or having an eating disorder.

Why do people self-harm?

There are many reasons why people self-harm. Some people use it as a method of control, some feel like they need to be punished for something they’ve done or felt, and some feel overwhelmed by negative emotions and they feel some relief from harming themselves. Often self-harm is seen as a symptom of a problem rather than a problem in itself, therefore it can be more helpful to concentrate on why someone is harming themselves rather than what they are doing.

How many people self-harm?

It is thought that around 13% of young people self-harm, though it is speculated that this figure in reality is much higher. Self-harm is also becoming more and more common; in 2014 published figures suggested a 70% increase in 10-14 year olds attending A&E for self-harm related reasons in comparison to the two years prior. And, interestingly, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), the North East has nearly three times the self-harm related hospital admissions compared to London (2013).

How can Technology Help?

The development of digital technology that can support people who self- harm and their social networks is a relatively new idea and there has been very little research in the area. This hackathon aims to bring together people interested in mental illness, people who have or are experiencing mental illness, people who can build and design, and people who are interested in technology. We want to utilise the expertise across many disciplines to formulate and design ideas that are sensitive to the stigmatisation of mental illness and self-harm, while offering support and harm reduction to those who need it. Digital technology can be a powerful force to realise positive change. We will investigate how it can be used to achieve our aims.

  • Emotional Coping

  • Awareness and Destigmatisation

  • Harm Reduction

  • Increase collaboration

  • Providing support

  • Contact Us


We have a great programme lined up for the event including some great speakers and activities

10:00am - 10:30am Breakfast & Registration
10:30am - 10:50am Welcome Talk
10:50am - 11:20am Speaker: Professor Di Bailey
11:20am - 11:40am Speaker: Rehaan Ansari
11:40am - 12:00pm Question Panel
12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch & Team Formation
1:30pm - 2:30pm Speakers & Quesion Panel: Alisdair Cameron & Steve O'Driscoll
2:30pm - 3:30pm Creation Phase 1 & Team Updates
3:30pm - 4:30pm Creation Phase 2 & Mentor Consultations
4:30pm - 5:00pm Updates with Mentors
5:00pm - 7:00pm Dinner & Mixing & Mentor Consultations
08:30am - 10:30am Arrival & Breakfast
10:30am - 12:00pm Creation Phase 3 & Team Updates
12:00pm - 1:00pm Mentor Consultations
1:00pm - 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm - 3:00pm Continue Creation & Prepare Pitches & Presentations
3:00pm - 4:00pm Present Project Ideas & Prototypes to Judges
4:00pm - 4:45pm Awarding of Prizes & Wine & Nibbles
4:45pm - 5:00pm Closing Remarks & Farewell
Subject to change


  • Author image
    Alisdair Cameron Team leader at LAUNCHPAD, Co-chair NTWSU&C Network

    Alisdair Cameron has variously been an academic historian, a lawyer and a user of mental health services, in between stretches of generalised community activism. His day job is as team leader at Launchpad,the mental health service user involvement project for Newcastle upon Tyne, and he is also co-chair of the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Service User & Carer network, and has been a leading light in the establishment of a North East region-wide MH user and carer body, NEt.

    He is also Chair of NAGAS (Newcastle and Gateshead Arts Studio), Vice-Chair of MHNE,Vice-Chair of Volsag, a Governor of the NTW NHS Foundation Trust, and a board member of NSUN, the National Survivor User Network for mental health. In spare moments he shuffles all of the letters from the aforementioned acronyms and sees what they can spell out. He is also a guest lecturer for Northumbria, Newcastle, Teesside and Durham universities, responsible for vaious modules on involvement, engagement, Mad Studies, and mental health systems.

  • Author image
    Rehaan Ansari 5th Year Medical Student.

    Rehaan is a final year medical student and mental health activist with experience on both sides of a consulting chair. His major fields of interest are the intersection of General Practice and mental health and understanding the effects of bereavement on young people in the modern day. As someone with experience of self-harm in both a professional and personal capacity, Rehaan explores the social and cultural norms of self-harm within the context of medicine. He has participated in local mental health awareness events as well as national anti-stigma campaigns.

  • Author image
    Steve O`Driscoll Volunteer at LAUNCHPAD

    I have volunteered for the past 3 years for Launchpad whose team leader is Alisdair Cameron. I attend meetings on behalf of Launchpad, facilitate a Self Injury Group as I myself was once a self-harmer and carry out work in the office. I also do lots of work at Northumbria University on the Social Work Programme which entails interviewing students for their places on the course, presentations, group work and just last year I was asked by one of the Senior Lecturers there to actually do a bit of teaching. This has now led to me interviwing students for their places on the Social Work course, teaching when asked and delivering lectures as well as Self-Harm awareness sessions the last of which was delivered to 95 students. Became chair of S.U. Committee for Social Work in 2014 which is ongoing.

  • Author image
    Professor Di Bailey Professor in Mental Health.

    Dr Di Bailey is a Professor of Mental Health at Nottingham Trent University where she leads a number of research projects relating to individuals with complex mental health needs. Di has a track record in working with young people with mental health issues and her particular area of interest is in young people who self-harm. Di has been working on several projects since 2014 to improve outcomes for young people who self-harm and adopts an approach to her research that fully involves young people in deciding what works best for them. Prior to joining Nottingham Trent University in 2010, Di held the position of Reader in Social Work at Durham University from 2005 and the National Social Care Lead for the Mental Health Research Network. Between 1995-2005 Di was employed by the University of Birmingham where she held the role of Principal Lecturer in Mental Health. In 2002 during her time at Birmingham Di was recognised as a National Teaching Fellow for excellent teaching in interdisciplinary mental health education. The mental health programme that she led won an award from the Sainsbury Centre for mental health for excellence in involving service users in mental health training and education. Di is a Principal Fellow of the HEA and a Chartered Member of the CIPD. She is a registered social worker with the HCPC.


The Devonshire building is located on Newcastle University’s campus right in town. It’s just a 20 minute walk from Central Station or 12 minutes using public transport (Get a Metro from Central Station to Haymarket plus a 5 minute walk).

  • Road – the A1(M) and A69 pass close to the city centre
  • Bus – the main coach station is in the city centre
  • Rail – Newcastle is about three hours from London
  • Air – Newcastle International Airport is only seven miles from the city centre
  • Sea – ferries run from nearby North Shields to the Netherlands


We invite a wide range of people to participate including: software and hardware developers, designers and practitioners with backgrounds in, for instance, Mental Health, Human-Computer Interaction, interaction design, healthcare or education, or anyone who is interested in identifying new ideas, critiques and digital designs for the care of people who self-harm or know those who self-harm.

A maximum of 65 participants (working in teams of 3-5) will be accepted to take part in the event. Participation in the event is free and we will provide you with plenty of food and drinks throughout.

Registration: Self Harmony

Terms - Read before applying (show/hide)
If you would like to register for the event please send your name, email and contact number along with a short description of why you would like to attend to -