Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Are our young people being failed by a society and education system that refuses to talk about suicide?

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in this country, with 4 young lives lost every day. And yet suicide is still a taboo subject.

The national suicide prevention charity, Papyrus, based in Warrington, is calling for urgent change in the way we deal with the issue of suicide here in the UK.

They say its vital that we break down the stigma that surrounds talking about death and suicide, in order to save young lives.

For too long, they believe the issue has been brushed under the carpet, with society, they say, wrongly believing that talking about suicide could lead to copycat deaths.

They say there is no evidence to suggest this is the case and they're calling for suicide prevention classes to be made compulsory in the curriculum - something that has already happened in New Zealand.

But it's a controversial idea. Many parents are reticent about such a move - concerned it could actually put ideas into vulnerable minds. While the charity The Samaritans are largely in favour of more discussion about suicide, they warn there are dangers. Chantel Scherer-Reid from the charity says there is a chance it could normalise such behaviour and lead to copycat deaths:

"Its important to talk about suicide but its important to do it safely and I think its important that young people know its not normal behaviour to feel suicidal and we don't want them to think its an easy solution. It's important young people know its a very permanant solution for what could be a short term problem and we want them to know that talking through their issues will help them see there are other options available."

– Chantel Scherer-Reid, Samaritans

Matt Connolly, from Manchester, thought about killing himself a few years ago,

"It felt like my head was crushed and my only clear thought was how can i escape this and that was ending my life completely. One of the major things that contributed to the way I was feeling was the fact i couldn't talk to anybody, cos of stigma but mainly cos the burden you think you're placing on other people and i didn't want to be branded as some kind of abnormal person."

He survived the suicide attempt - and the next day found himself walking into a branch of the Samaritans. He says talking about it changed his life.

"Knowing there's someone there and you don't have to keep it to yourself is really liberating feeling only way I can describe it. Once its done its done and there's no going back so only message would be why not try every possibility before getting to that point."

The parents of Ben Fitchett wish their son had talked to someone about his problems. The 14-year-old from Rochdale killed himself last year. They are in favour of more discussion about suicide in schools.

"If they need educating that way, it needs to be done.

I really do not feel that by talking about it you could put thought but if puts into thought that is help out there and saves a life, so much more worth it - its about saving lives not promoting death."

For information of where you can get help and support then you can click on PAPYRUS for the Charity working to prevent young suicides or you can click on SAMARITANSto take you through to their website.

Or you can call PAPYRUS on 0800 0684141 or the SAMARITANS on 08457 909090