Jo's story

When I was 7 years old I was diagnosed with attachment disorder which I received counselling for. However, when I was 16 my relationship at the time broke down, which led me to attempt suicide. It was after this that I started to self-harm due to the immediate relief it gave me from the overwhelming emotions I was feeling. It became my coping strategy.

I continued to self-harm into my 20s, and eventually ended up developing agoraphobia. I began experiencing a drastic increase in stress levels, which was showing up as physical symptoms. This led me to contact NHS24 who put me in touch with Penumbra. I was initially linked up with Beth (peer practitioner) who helped me start to cope with some of the immediate symptoms I was experiencing. Once these sessions came to an end, I was asked if I wanted to continue my support with Self-Harm Network Scotland (SHNS). I agreed and that’s when I was put in touch with Brogan, a peer practitioner for the SHNS service.

I actually looked forward to my support sessions and felt like I wasn’t alone in what I was experiencing.


The level and type of support that Brogan gave me was incredible. After just two sessions I began to see a massive change in my moods and a reduction in my self-harm. The fact that Brogan was able to open up and share that she had been in a similar situation to me, and came out the other side, was huge! I actually looked forward to our sessions and felt like I wasn’t alone in what I was experiencing. 

The tools and techniques that Brogan gave me I still use to this day. I even find them useful to fall back on for other support I am receiving for my agoraphobia. I haven’t self-harmed in two and a half months and have seen a massive improvement with my moods and confidence. I’ve even managed to take some trips outside of Elgin. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without Brogan’s support.

I can’t recommend SHNS and Penumbra services enough! I already share the tools I have learnt with my friends and recommend the service as much as I can. I want people to know that this resource is out there, it works and it’s free. I hope that my story can help to spread the word about SHNS and reach as many people as possible who may need support.

Thank you for sharing your story, Jo.

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