Samaritans Cymru encourages ‘talking in class’

-Strictly Embargoed, 00:01 Thursday 8th September 2016-
Samaritans Cymru has today launched their school partnership with eight secondary schools in Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taf.  All eight schools will be piloting and teaching a set of lesson plans developed and written by Samaritans for the next academic year. The DEAL (Developing Emotional Awareness and Listening) teaching resources have been created to help prevent emotional distress in young people and break down barriers around talking about emotional and mental health. The secondary schools involved in the pilot are Greenhill Special School, Cathays High School, Whitchurch High School, Fitzalan High School, Cardiff High School, Corpus Christi High School, Ysgol Plasmawr and Aberdare Community School. 
Samaritans Cymru have said that in the context of an increase in self-harm admissions, eating disorders and referrals to mental health services in Wales, their schools resource has been met with great enthusiasm. Their DEAL programme encourages young people to talk about their problems and helps them to develop positive coping strategies whilst learning to recognise when they need help. Samaritans have been supportive of the Donaldson Report and believes the implementation of its focus on health and wellbeing as an area of learning is crucial for future generations.
Sarah Stone, Executive Director for Wales said: 
“With half of all mental health problems beginning by the age of 14, school years are the crucial opportunity to equip children and young people with the skills they need to face the future with reslience and optimism.  Emotional health lessons in schools could reduce pressure on mental health services and reduce specific mental health problems. We are delighted to have eight schools championing emotional health through our DEAL programme; being taught about emotional health reduces the stigma surrounding asking for help.”
Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education, said:
“It is vital we continue to do all we can to support children and young people who are experiencing emotional difficulties. Through Personal and Social Education (PSE) there  are opportunities to deliver lessons specifically on improving mental health and to help learners understand the factors that affect mental health and how to access professional health advice and personal support with confidence.  
“I am therefore heartened to see this commendable collaboration between schools and Samaritans Cymru and pleased this valuable resource will be made available to others via Hwb, our Digital Learning portal.” 
Samaritans has also highlighted evidence that children with higher levels of emotional, behavioural and social wellbeing have, on average, higher levels of academic achievement and are more engaged in their education.
The timely launch of their project arrives as The Children's Society's annual review of young people's wellbeing has found that 13,000 girls in Wales aged between 10 and 15 - one in seven - were not happy with their lives.  Overall, the number of girls unhappy has gone up 21% over the last five years. The proportion of boys aged 10 to 15 who said they were unhappy with their lives remained at one in nine.
The bilingual web-based lesson plans are available to download for free for all schools and educational settings in Wales through their website. In addition to this, as part of the launch, the resources will now also be available to download through Hwb, a national collection of digital resources which have been created or endorsed by Welsh Government.
Over the next year, Samaritans Cymru plan to meet with schools and education staff in Mid, North and West Wales to roll out the project and expand their reach.  
To find out more about DEAL or download the free resources, please visit  
Notes to Editors: 
  • Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, to listen and offer confidential support when things are getting to you. Please call 116 123 (this number is FREE and will not show up on your phone bill) or call the Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (This number is free to call and open from 7pm - 11pm 7 days a week) You can also email, or visit to find details of the nearest branch.
  • For further information, or to request an interview, please contact Emma Harris, Policy and Communications Officer on or 029 2022 2008 / 07984579050