Suicide is not inevitable, it is preventable

World Suicide Prevention Day – 10th September 2019

Run by the International Association for Suicide Prevention(IASP), World Suicide Prevention Day takes place this year on 10th September.

Mental Health In The UK

In the UK 75% of young people with a mental health problem are not currently receiving treatment[1]. The average wait for a child in the UK to receive effective treatment is 10 years[2]. With this in mind, it’s not surprising (though still utterly devastating) that suicide is the biggest cause of death in young people[3].

Did you know that there are online tools that can help those responsible for the safety and well-being of children, young people and vulnerable adults? They can help to identify mental health issues and suicide risk factors in order to offer them early support and protection.

Self-Harm

A recent report by The Children’s Society has found that over 100,000 fourteen year olds in the UK are self-harming. Self-harm in this group is particularly prevalent in girls, with 1 in 4 fourteen year old girls having hurt themselves deliberately[4]. While self-harm itself is generally regarded as a coping mechanism rather than a suicide attempt, it certainly is a risk factor. Over half of individuals who take their own lives have a history of self-harming behaviours[5].

Suicide Clusters

Alarmingly, one suicide can often trigger what is known as a “contagion” to break out. Knowing the victim personally or even just hearing their story from others or through media outlets can result in a cluster of suicidal behaviours or suicides that occur within an accelerated time frame. Studies have shown that adolescents are the ones most affected[6].

Social Media

Going through adolescence has always been hard, it’s a self-esteem danger zone. But the use of social media and the influence it has had on our culture means that teenagers today face an entirely unique set of challenges to their mental health. While suicide is almost always caused by serious underlying mental health problems[7] this issue can be significantly exacerbated by the use of social media. Many victims choose to leave behind messages or videos which publicly share the pain and torment they faced in the lead up to taking their own life, increasing the number who will be indirectly reached by their suicide.

With this insight into the contagious nature of suicide, it is clear that more needs to be done to prevent these tragedies from occurring in the first place. As it is, many children who face mental health issues only receive treatment or support when they are already on the brink of suicide[8], some will only receive care after they’ve made an attempt to take their own lives, and for far too many that help comes much too late.

How Can We Prevent Suicide?

Suicide is not inevitable, it is preventable when early risk factors are identified. Schools need to adopt a method of proactive intervention by adopting a system which allows them to spot and report signs of early mental health problems and suicide risk factors before they manifest into much larger, more complicated problems. MyConcern can help schools do just this by collating a high-level view of all concerns raised about a child, building a team around them. This makes sure that potential problems are recognised long before they spiral into serious situations such as suicide, with severe and long-term consequences.

Find out more how MyConcern can support your safeguarding team by watching our video, or book a FREE online demo.

Join The Conversation

To find out more about World Suicide Prevention Day or to get involved, you can join in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #WSPD2018.

Facebook: /IASPinfo

Twitter: @IASPinfo

References:

[1] Lightning Review: Access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, May 2016

[2] https://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/the-decade-of-delay

[3] Suicides in the UK: 2015 registrations

[4]https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/29/quarter-of-14-year-old-girls-in-uk-have-self-harmed-report-finds

[5] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/self-harm/

[6] Zenere, F. (2009). Suicide clusters and contagion. Principal Leadership, 10(2), 12-16.

[7] https://www.healthify.us/healthify-insights/is-social-media-contributing-to-the-rise-of-teen-suicides

[8] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/05/children-denied-help-mental-health-attempt-suicide-self-harm-barnardos-local-authority-funding

Author
Sam Franklin
Marketing

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