Sally Marlow talks to some of the men and women who have self-harmed, and the experts who treat them, to find out what is driving so many people to self-harm.
Clinical guidelines define self-harm as any act of self-poisoning or self-injury carried out by a person irrespective of their motivation. However, research reveals a worrying association between self-harm and the risk of suicide.
While rates of self-harm are particularly high among teenage girls, the true picture is far more nuanced. Rates have gone up in all age groups and both genders and, more recently, in groups such as middle-aged men.
So what is driving so many people to hurt themselves, and what can be done to help them? The media is quick to point the finger at social media, but Sally discovers that the reasons behind this question are as varied and complex as the people who do it.
Producer: Beth Eastwood
Designing a World for Everyone
In 1979, Pattie Moore, a 26-year-old designer in New York was so was so incensed by the way her colleagues ignored the needs of the elderly that she embarked on a daring piece of social research. Disguised as an 85-year-old woman, she took to the streets of America, travelling to over 100 cities, to discover the realities of being old. Her disguise not only looked the part but also simulated the infirmities of old age - prosthetics reduced her hearing, vision and the ability to move with ease. She bound her fingers and wore gloves to simulate arthritis.
In this programme, Jeremy Myerson, the Helen Hamlyn Professor of Design at the Royal College of Art, follows Pattie’s story as she relives memories in New York where her radical experiment began. Pattie retraces her steps to significant places such as Harlem, where she was brutally attacked, and the bench in Central Park where she was romanced by an elderly widower. She talks to senior New Yorkers today about their lives in the city.
Pattie’s experiment was a milestone in development of universal design - the idea that products and environments should be designed so they can be used by as many people as possible regardless of age or disability. Her mission since has been to champion the needs of those less able and to design with empathy. We hear from a veteran who has benefitted from one of her rehabilitation simulation environments and look to the future of design for conditions such as autism.
Today, Pattie is an internationally renowned gerontologist and designer. In October Pattie received the prestigious Design Mind Award at the 2019 National Design Awards in New York.
Producer: Sara Parker
Executive Producer: Emma Walker
A Rosa Production for BBC Radio 4
Art of Now: Playing Well - Frightened Rabbit
In the first of the three-part series "Playing Well" Chris Hawkins has an intimate conversation with the band mates of Scott Hutchison, who took his own life in May 2018.
In conversation with Scott's brother Grant, drummer in Frightened Rabbit, and guitarist Andy Monaghan, Chris discovers more about the anxious child who reframed his family nickname as a band name - and how he channeled a rare lyrical talent, determination and energy into the creation of one of Scotland's most important and influential rock bands.
Charting the rise of the band and Scott's intense, occasionally hilarious approach to live performance, Grant frankly addresses the pressures his brother faced - and the structural pressures faced by anyone in the music industry. Charting the exhausting aftermath of suicide, Grant talks about defining Scott as a songwriter, in the hope that the existence of works which appear to presage his death don't create a misleading impression of Scott's life.
It's a moving portrait of a fascinating artist, and an attempt to reclaim Scott's musical legacy from the inaccurate assumption that the combination of musical celebrity and mental illness can only end in tragedy.
Details of organisations offering information and support with mental health are available at bbc.co.uk/actionline, or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information on 08000 155 998.
Presented by Chris Hawkins
Produced by Kevin Core
The 21st Century Curriculum
As a teenager, the writer Varaidzo lost interest in school. She investigates the so-called "educational dip" and talks to teenagers about ways they think the school curriculum might be made more appealing and useful to them in later life. She also meets Lord Baker, the minister responsible for setting up the national curriculum more than thirty years ago; and she talks to futurists and those researching the future of work, to find out what they think the students of today should be learning.
Producer: Ellie Richold
Between the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 and the policy's hastily enforced end on 29 December 1989, East German citizens claimed an estimated four billion Deutschmarks in so-called ‘Begrüßungsgeld’ or ‘welcome money’ from the West German authorities.
Tens of thousands stood in line at banks and town halls up and down West Germany, waiting to collect their state-sanctioned gift of 100DM (around €80 today). For most East Germans, shortages of basic goods were a fact of daily life and luxuries were all but non-existent, this modest windfall represented the first true spending money that they had ever possessed, and in spending it they would have their first encounters with modern-day capitalism and consumerism.
In this programme, journalist and teutonophile Malcolm Jack heads to Berlin to find out what East Germans bought with their Begrüßungsgeld and, 30 years on, what became of those purchases.
In Berlin, Malcolm meets Jens ‘Tasso’ Muller from Saxony, who, on his first trip west, travelled with friends to Kreuzberg in Berlin. It was the first time he had ever seen graffiti tags, on every corner in every place. Having never seen graffiti tags before, he worked out it must be done with a marker so that was the first thing he bought. As it cost an exorbitant 11DM, he just bought one, but it would be the first of many. Today Jens is better known by the alias 'Tasso' and his tag is recognised all over the world - as a professional graffiti artist he has visited 31 different countries and counting; all thanks to one black ink Edding marker, igniting a passion for street art he didn't even know existed.
Amongst other East Germans and East Berliners, Malcolm meets fashion designer and former international model Grit Seymour. Grit’s welcome money was spent on fresh exotic fruit and a copy of Italian Vogue which was previously inaccessible to her in the GDR. Malcolm also visits a former Stasi prison with tour guide and former inmate Peter Kreup, whose welcome money provided a sense of power and freedom that he had previously been denied after spending 10 months incarcerated by the regime. Performance artist and lecturer Else Gabriel shares her unorthodox approach to the welcome money, and the bounty it brought her which she still keeps in her studio. Nicole Hartmann was just 11 years old when the wall fell, and remembers the feeling of solidarity that she felt when her East German village banded together to look after the people in the streams of cars, all travelling to Berlin to collect their Begrüßungsgeld. We also hear from Professor of German History at University College, London about the reasons for the introduction of the welcome money itself, and its impact on the process of reunification.