LifeSIGNS is cool!!! That’s what I got told when I was giving out our wonderful leaflets and factsheets in a halls of residence at Sheffield University anyway!
In an attempt to raise awareness for SIAD, which seems to be creeping up ever so quickly, I decided to write to a few halls of residences to hold an ‘LifeSIGNS Information Evening’. Tonight I held my first one. Tactically armed with free sweets and lollies and a stack of publications, I erected a cute little LifeSIGNS stall in the main reception to get as much publicity as possible!
At first, alot of the people were attracted to the sweets, took a factsheet or two but then threw them in the bin right in front of me. Some even got offended when I offered them a leaflet – ‘Oh, I don’t do that kind of thing’ and ‘Urgh, that’s scary’, were among many of the typical misconceived assumptions about SI that I heard. Which then made me more determined to spread the truth abuut SI and try to smash the prejudices many people already held.
So it was time to get tough! A free lolly meant that they had to take a leaflet or factsheet and listen to me talk about afew things – what SI is, why some people may feel the need to do it, that fact that it isn’t just adolescent girls who do it. Some became engaged and became more interested and asked questions, while some ended it with, ‘Can I take an extra sweet now I’ve listened to you?!’. There were afew who were genuinely interested and had been affected by SI and I hope, through all the wasted factsheets that were thrown in the bin, and the prejudices that were held by some, that their first introduction to LifeSIGNS has been a positive one and they will find us useful, and realise that LifeSIGNS can indeed provide the best Self-Injury Guidence and Network Support.
Afew lessons have been learnt from tonight. Ultimately there still needs to be a lot more work done in raising awareness and changing the perceptions of those who mistakenly think that SI is ‘weird’ or ‘scary’. Even if people didn’t read the factsheets or leaflets properly, at least they’ve heard us talk about SI and LifeSIGNS. And its made me more determined to do more to raise awareness and improve resources – the fact that at least three people tonight found out that they are not alone in their SI and that support is out there, has reaffirmed what LifeSIGNS is all about and that we do make a difference. That’s why, as one boy who I was talking to about the work that LifeSIGNS does stated, ‘you’re cool!!!’.