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Bexley workshop raises awareness of suicide prevention in young people

PUBLISHED: 12:33 30 March 2018

A recent workshop to held prevent suicide in school children was held in Bexleyheath. Picture: PA

A recent workshop to held prevent suicide in school children was held in Bexleyheath. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

A recent workshop to held prevent suicide in school children was held in Bexleyheath as part of the borough’s mental health awareness programme.

The Suicide-Safer Schools workshop, held on Thursday, March 22 at St Catherine’s Catholic School, Watling Street, was voted ‘extremely relevant’ and ‘inspirational’ by local teachers and mentoring staff who attended.

Around 60 representatives from local schools - primarily secondary and sixth form colleges, participated in the talk, led by national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide.

Many were surprised at the high number of young people who take their own lives every year: over 1,600 under the age of 35 and 200 school children.

Pascale Erthellet, Bexley’s public health advisor for children and young people, said: “The workshop was well received.

“The level of engagement from secondary schools echoes the need for staff to have a better understanding of suicide prevention.

“Teachers report a rise in the number of young people saying that they have suicidal thoughts.

“Equipping teachers with the skills and knowledge to deal with this is crucial.”

The programme was led by Aarti Kumari PAPYRUS regional development officer for London, and included guidance on developing a suicide prevention policy, language around suicide, how to ask and talk about suicide safely, what to look out for and what to do if concerned that a child is at imminent risk of death or harm.

A presentation by staff from Tharreo House, New Addington, demonstrated the huge benefits their school had gained having been one of the first in the country to implement the guidance contained in the workshop.

Nina Clarke, the charity’s deputy chief executive, said: “PAPYRUS is dedicated to preventing young suicide.

“This event represented the national launch of our suicide-safer schools training programme and we thank Bexley Borough public health team for facilitating it.

“The fact that 70pc of senior schools in the borough took up the offer of this training shows that there is a need for it.”

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice contact PAPYRUS HOPELineUK tel 0800 068 41 41 text 07786 209 697 email pat@papyrus-uk.org.

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