16 December 2019 – National Charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide says that findings from a long awaited publication led by Professor Ann John of Swansea University offer clear opportunities to introduce interventions that could help to save young lives. The review, part of the Public Health Wales’ Child Death Review Programme, examined the deaths of 33 children and young people aged between 10-17 years who died in the last five years, probably by suicide.

Said Kate Heneghan, Head of PAPYRUS in Wales:  “The challenge now is for those of us in a position to influence and change policy in Wales to really push for those opportunities to be embraced with vigour, determination and urgency. We owe it to the young people who died by suicide and to those young people who are still with us and need our support.

“We have been aware of an increase in the number of deaths by suicide in the 15-19 year old age group for a number of years. This review helps us to better understand what factors may contribute to this and what may help to prevent these suicides.

“Many of the issues the report raises as possible contributing factors, such as sexual abuse, bereavement, domestic violence, educational problems, self-harm, substance misuse, bullying and social media are consistent with what we hear from young people on our HOPELINEUK helpline every day of the week.”

The review sights stigma as a major challenge to suicide prevention effort. PAPYRUS believes that talking about suicide is the only way to challenge stigma and we know that talking openly encourages young people struggling with thoughts of suicide to seek help. By asking ‘are you having thoughts of suicide?’ you have conveyed that you are a safe person to talk to and will help them to seek help. It takes seconds. You should never hesitate: you could save a life. “This is why we believe suicide prevention training is imperative for professionals who work with young people,” said Kate Heneghan.

“What really struck a chord was reading about the number of young people included in the report who had episodes of self-harm where parents were unsure how to respond. All too often at PAPYRUS we hear from bereaved parents who say they felt lost, they didn’t know what to do or where to turn and wished they had known about our helpline service when they were struggling to keep their child safe.

“PAPYRUS exists to create suicide safer communities. We work to increase public and professional awareness about suicide through our campaigns and suicide prevention training.”

If you are a young person struggling with thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned that a young person you know maybe struggling with thoughts of suicide PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK is there to help. Call 0800 068 41 41 text 07860 039 967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org.

Editor’s notes:

In Wales in 2018 13 young people aged 10-19 died by suicide: 94 aged 10-34.

In the UK suicide is the main cause of death in young people under 35. Every year over 1,800 take their own lives. PAPYRUS believes that many are preventable. The charity provides practical advice and support – how to cope, what to say and do – to young people and others concerned that a young person may be at risk of killing themselves.

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