Suicide prevention 'is everyone's business'
PREVENTING suicide among young people "is everybody's business", a Gwent AM has said at a national conference discussing how to make schools and colleges safer and more open places.
Lynne Neagle was among speakers at the conference in London last week organised by suicide prevention charity Papyrus.
In her speech the Torfaen AM spoke about the importance of encouraging people - particularly young people and those working with them, such as teachers - to speak openly about suicide.
"Suicide prevention is everybody’s business and everybody’s opportunity," she said.
"I regularly get asked whether our teachers don’t already have enough to do.
"I know that teachers are under huge pressure and that workload is a major issue.
"But I have also spoken to many school staff who would welcome training in this area, who would feel empowered by it and whose mental health would also be helped by knowing how best to help young people.
"I have spoken to teachers who have told me that they are afraid to leave to go home at night because they are the last line of defence for a young person who is self-harming and they don’t know what to do.
"And we can never underestimate the impact on school staff of losing a pupil to suicide.
"The bottom line here is that four school children die by suicide every week in the UK - 200 schoolchildren a year. That is a national scandal."
The Labour AM is also chairwoman of the Welsh Assembly's Children, Young People and Education Committee and has spoken previously of the importance of raising awareness of what may lead young people to kill themselves.
Continuing, Ms Neagle said: "The death of a young person by suicide is devastating - for their family, for their school and for the whole community.
"It is also estimated that every suicide costs the public purse £1.6 million per suicide.
"To those who say that we can’t afford to invest more in this work in schools, I say to you that we can’t afford not to."
Support with suicidal thoughts is available 24 hours a day from the Samaritans via 116 123.
All schools in Wales also offer counselling for children while GPs are also able to refer to services.Read Full Article