We need a national strategy to build young people’s resilience, says Samaritans

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said: “We urgently need to address the gaps in support for young people which is putting their lives at risk. This is a public health issue and we need a nationwide strategy to deal with it.

Commenting on a report into suicide by children and young people by the University of Manchester’s National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, (NCISH) released today, she said: “Every death from suicide is a tragedy and we welcome this report, which increases our understanding of suicide and helps us to put more effective prevention measures in place.

“We need to build young people’s resilience, starting at school. This is an important part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education which should be a statutory element of the National Curriculum, supported by staff training.

“Influential websites, social networks and forums can take the lead in developing safer online spaces and more needs to be done to expand emotional support services to help them to meet the needs of young people at risk of suicide.

“Samaritans provides support for people bereaved by suicide through Step by Step, our postvention service which supports schools and college communities, and Facing the Future which provides free support in partnership with Cruse Bereavement Care.

Samaritans DEAL (Developing Emotional Awareness and Listening) are teaching resources for schools which can be used to help build emotional resilience and can be used with targeted vulnerable groups such as looked after children.

Samaritans has also emphasised the need to develop effective online support for suicidal people, and we have recommended that doctors ask vulnerable patients about their internet use. These findings came from a research report by Bristol University, Samaritans and Papyrus released in November last year. “