Samaritans' comment on Public Health Wales’ review of probable suicides in young people

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Commenting on Public Health Wales’ Thematic review of deaths of children and young people through probable suicide, 2006-2012, Sarah Stone, Executive Director for Samaritans Wales, said:

“Each suicide is a terrible waste of life which is why we welcome this important review. In particular, the recommendations for strengthening communications between Government, professionals and the third sector working together in suicide prevention. Samaritans supports families, friends and school communities in the aftermath of a suicide. We also work closely with other agencies to support our callers.

“It's important to note that the review identified the role of schools, colleges and workplaces as crucial settings to engage vulnerable young people. Samaritans is active across Wales applying a holistic approach to working with school and college communities. Our DEAL programme (Developing Emotional Awareness and Learning) is aimed at increasing the understanding of emotional health and improving effective coping strategies in young people aged 14-16, with videos, lesson plans and supporting resources which are freely available to all schools across the country. The review rightly points out that stigma can be a barrier to help seeking behaviour, our DEAL programme allows challenging topics such as depression and self-harm to be discussed in an open and positive way. Meanwhile, our Step by Step service aims to equip schools to respond and recover in the aftermath of a suicide or attempted suicide, the ultimate aim is to prevent further deaths in this way.

“The review highlighted the role of the online environment in some deaths. We know that the internet has a strong influence on young people and have recently launched a groundbreaking research project with Bristol University on the role the internet plays for those with suicidal thoughts. In addition, Samaritans has an ongoing partnership with Facebook, allowing users to refer friends who might be struggling to cope and Google to signpost people searching for ‘suicide’ to our service.

"In Wales we run a “Feet on the Street” outreach programme in towns and cities across the country as it’s important for Samaritans to have a visible presence of our volunteers in the heart of our communities, on a regular basis, for anyone who needs someone to talk to.  There is a dedicated Samaritans Welsh language line, open every day from 7-11pm on 0300 123 3011.”

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For more information about the work of Samaritans, or to arrange an interview please contact Samaritans’ Press Office on 020 8394 8300 / 07943 809162 email press@samaritans.org

Notes to editors:

  • Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 08457 90 90 90 (UK) 1850 60 90 90 (ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or find details of the nearest branch.