Call for more help to prevent teenage suicides

The North West has the highest rate of suicide in the country, with more young people taking their own lives.

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  1. Mel Barham

How one North West family hope their tragedy will help prevent others suffering the same pain

It is the leading cause of death in young people - with four young lives lost to suicide every single day.

Here in the North West we have the highest suicide rate in the country - and given the way such deaths are recorded at inquests, it's thought that figure could be even higher.

This year alone in the North West, there has been a worrying spate of young people and teenagers apparently taking their own lives.

The reason why the figures are so high here, isn't clear.

But for young people especially, there can be a whole host of triggers and being inexperienced in life, they are often ill-equipped to deal with such complex emotional issues.

Teenager Ben Fitchett.

Ben Fitchett, from Rochdale, was 14 when he took his own life.

His parents say he was a popular, fun-loving boy with a friend for every day of the year.

They say there was no sign anything was wrong; no warning of what he was about to do.

"There was absolutely no sign of anything being wrong, Ben was planning the future, there was nothing that made you think there was no tomorrow out of his life."

– Sarah Fitchett, Ben's mother.

The national suicide prevention charity Papyrus - based in Warrrington - is calling the figures of young suicides a national scandal.

Despite being the biggest killer of that age group, most people are unaware of just how bad the problem is.

Funding for charities like Papyrus is scarce and many young people in need of help are simply unaware of where to go.

Ben larking about during a family day out.

The Samaritans say many young people caught up in a spiral of despair, often lack the emotional maturity to realise the permanency of suicide.

That permanency is only too real for the families and loved ones left behind.

Ben's parents say they've been left heartbroken by their son's death.

"It's an emptiness, its painful."

– Sarah Fitchett, Ben's mother.

"I don't suppose they really think of the consequences and the effect it has on other people.

"You can understand at that lowest point that they're only thinking of themselves but the shock effect that hits everybody else afterwards is so traumatic.

"I think if he saw how much he was loved, I don't think he would have done it."

– Peter Fitchett, Ben's father.
Ben's parents said he was a fun loving boy.

The Fitchetts hope their story will prevent other young people going down the route of suicide.

They say it is never the answer, there is always help and always a solution.

By raising awareness of suicide, they hope to prevent another family going through the same pain that they are.

And for them, that means breaking down the stigma that is talking about suicide.

For more information, or to obtain help and support, visit the websites listed below:

  • Papyrus is the national UK charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide.
  • The Samaritans provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts.
Ben's parents said he had everything to live for.

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