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  1. ITV Report

Suicide prevention should be treated as a 'national priority', says report

Rhian Manning's husband, Paul, took his own life five days after their baby son George died suddenly Credit: Rhian Mannings

Suicide prevention should be treated as a national priority, a new report has found.

The National Assembly's Health, Social Care and Sport Committee found the number of registered deaths by suicide is at its highest since 1981.

But it's thought that official statistics may under-represent the true scale of suicide.

360
Registered deaths from suicide in Wales in 2017.

The Committee said better and consistent services are urgently needed to help those affected by suicide and more effort is needed to raise awareness among the general public as well as frontline staff.

It can affect anybody and there isn't a community in Wales where people haven't been touched by suicide.

We all have our part to play in reaching out and offering support to those in need. We know that if someone is having suicidal thoughts, receiving support from someone else can make a big difference.

– Dr Dai Lloyd AM, Chair of the Health, Social Services and Sport Committee

The Welsh Government said it "welcomed" the announcement of the report and will consider the findings in detail before responding.

Every suicide is a tragedy which impacts on family, friends, neighbours and communities.

– Welsh Government spokesperson
  • Rhian Manning's story
Rhian's husband Paul took his own life in 2012, just days after their son died suddenly Credit: Rhian Manning

In 2012, Rhian and her husband Paul's 1-year-old son, George, died unexpectedly.

She said although hospital staff were wonderful, the pair left "without our son, into the dark of the night, not knowing where to turn".

Five days later, Paul took his own life.

"He walked out of the home, and never came back", said Rhian.

Rhian says following the death of their son, there was no support available to the couple and, after her husband's suicide, the situation remained the same.

"So much needs to be done, because to lose somebody who you love and care for, however you lose them, to have to live life afterwards is so difficult", she told ITV Wales.

Rhian has since founded her own charity, 2 Wish Upon a Star, which provides bereavement support for families who lose a child or young adult suddenly or unexpectedly.

"The more that can be done to support families, the more I believe we could help the mental health of this country".

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  • If you want to speak to someone about the issues raised in this article, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123.