Samaritans Cymru launch emotional health lessons on World Suicide Prevention Day

Samaritans Cymru has today launched DEAL (Developing Emotional Awareness & Listening), a set of free, bilingual teaching resources which have been designed to improve emotional health and encourage help seeking among young people in schools and educational settings in Wales. The launch is taking place on World Suicide Prevention Day, a worldwide initiative to reach out to those at risk of suicide.

Many young people in Wales possess negative attitudes towards mental health difficulties among peers and avoid seeking help with their emotional problems.  The Good Childhood Report 2012 states that while most children are happy with their lives as a whole, around one in 11 (9%) is not. This amounts to half a million children in the UK aged eight to 15 who have low wellbeing at any given time. The delivery and teaching of emotional health and awareness in educational settings  can help with communication skills, social skills, co-operation, resilience, a sense of optimism, empathy, self-esteem and problem solving skills  

In addition to this, The Impact of Pupil Behaviour and Wellbeing on Educational Outcomes, a report by the Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre showed 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. Children with good emotional wellbeing make good progress in primary school and are engaged in secondary school.

Samaritans Cymru has stated that whilst suicide is a rare event, it is a major cause of death in teenage years.  In Wales, we are witnessing a significant rise in factors which can contribute to suicidal intent.  Self-harm, admissions for eating disorders and referrals to mental health services across Wales are currently at a record high for children and young people in Wales.

Whilst the causes of suicide are complex, these factors can increase the risk of emotional distress and rates of suicide in young people. Preventative measures, such as teaching and building emotional resilience in educational settings could increase help seeking behaviour and reduce the amount of young people experiencing emotional distress.  

Sarah Stone, Executive Director for Wales says -

“We are eager to support schools in Wales to further engage with vulnerable young people. Our DEAL programme is aimed at increasing the understanding of emotional health and improving effective coping strategies in young people through their PSE programme. Developing an understanding of emotional health and encouraging help seeking is vital to create opportunities for young people in Wales.

Samaritans believes that through finding ways to respond to people in distress, we can make a significant difference to the rate of suicide. We must work together, locally and nationally, to achieve real change in Wales.’

Health and Social Services Minister Professor Mark Drakeford said:

“The Samaritans provide a vital service and I am pleased that they are supporting our Talk To Me 2 strategy to reduce suicide and self-harm.  DEAL will be a great resource to help with this and to assist teachers in promoting good emotional health and wellbeing.  It will offer children and young people an opportunity to discuss difficult issues in a safe and supportive environment.”

The launch of DEAL, which is taking place in Cardiff City Centre on World Suicide Prevention Day, will include a speech by Mark Drakeford AM, Minister for Health and Social Services. Dr Ann John, associate professor at Swansea University who chairs the Welsh Government’s national advisory group on suicide and self-harm prevention, will also be delivering a speech on Suicide, self-harm and prevention in young people

To find out more about DEAL, please visit www.samaritans.org/DEAL

Samaritans Cymru recently launched its manifesto for the National Assembly for Wales Elections 2016, ‘Four Steps to Save Lives’. The Manifesto aims to identify the best ways of reducing suicide in Wales.

Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. It provides a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they are feeling and whatever life has done to them. You can contact Samaritans at any time from any phone for FREE on 116 123, even from a mobile without any credit, and the number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email jo@samaritans.org or go to www.samaritans.org/branches to find details of your local branch.

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For more information about the work of Samaritans Cymru, please contact the Press team on: 029 2022 2008 or email e.harris@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. 
  • You can contact Samaritans at any time from any phone for FREE on 116 123 and the number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email jo@samaritans.org or go to www.samaritans.org/branches to find details of your local branch.
  • ‘Four Steps to Save Lives’ can be accessed here
  • To find out more about DEAL, please visit www.samaritans.org/DEAL