Suicide 'problem' among the young, research finds

Man holding head (picture posed by model) Men make up two-thirds of all suicide deaths in Wales, said Samaritans

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Eight out of 10 young people think suicide is a problem among their generation, according to a new report.

About 200 people aged 12-25 were surveyed by Mind Cymru.

The charity said the research shows the young understand some reasons why people may consider taking their lives.

But it also found that young people are often negative to those with suicidal thoughts or actions, calling them "selfish" or "cowards".

The report suggested these "negative attitudes" expressed by young people may be due to their limited knowledge and understanding of what causes someone to attempt suicide.

The research found that a lot of young people's attitudes towards suicide had been formed by the media - particularly television dramas and soaps.

Young people suggested teaching in schools, storylines in soaps and the internet could be used to educate their generation about suicide.

Face-to-face

Those surveyed said a suicide website similar to the anti-drugs website talktofrank.com which is aimed at teenagers would be a good source of information.

The research found that young people wanted face-to-face services and not just helplines.

ChildLine was the only helpline consistently identified by those surveyed and young people are unaware of services including those offered by Samaritans and Papyrus, the research found.

Anonymity and confidentiality when seeking help for themselves or friends was also a problem identified in the research.

The found that while young people cited adults as a "main source of help", they would not seek help from adults as their view generally was that adults did not listen.

Start Quote

Today's young people face enormous pressures”

End Quote Alan Briscoe Positive Choices

Instead, they were more like to seek support from their friends.

The report said: "The most significant issue identified by this project is that although young people are able to list a range of sources of advice and support, they are reluctant to use these.

"This is because of their concerns around confidentiality and a lack of confidence in adults to provide them with the help and support they need.

"This issue in particular needs further exploration to try and identify sources of help and support that young people would turn to if they were concerned about their own or a friend's safety."

Positive Choices is a five-year project by the charity aiming to promote mental health "by relieving the serious mental distress experienced by individuals with thoughts of suicide".

It also aims to "raise awareness of suicide, break down stigma and increase the perception that suicide is everybody's business".

Alan Briscoe, manager of Positive Choices, said: "Today's young people face enormous pressures.

"In trying to understand how best to provide help and support to reduce the rates of self-harm and youth suicide, it is essential that young people are asked directly for their views and play a full part in any research."

Lindsay Foyster, director of Mind Cymru, said "The Positive Choices research launched today provides vital information about young people's attitudes towards suicide which we hope will be used to address this serious issue."

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