NCPS | Suicide in young people and how we can work to prevent it

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under 35 in the UK.

We must act now to prevent further deaths of our children and young people.

There are serious concerns across the UK from schools, research and counsellors working with children and young people that the number of children reporting suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts is increasing. Children and young people are especially vulnerable in more rural areas of England (such as Devon and Cornwall) as access to services is difficult and the lack of funding available per child is often in these areas the lowest in the country. The risks of suicide nationwide is clearly linked to the ever increasing rate of child and adolescent mental health issues.

Children and young people that are most vulnerable to the risks of suicide are those with existing mental health issues and those with SEND. Whilst the highest rates of suicide recorded are male there is a concerning increase in female suicide between 13 and 25 years.

Counsellors working in education are reporting an increasing level of children and young people presenting with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, traumatic experiences and suicidal feelings. Many of these mental health issues can be treated with professional therapists but this service needs to be mainstream and statutory in all schools and colleges across England. Early detection of our children and adolescents suffering with their mental health is crucial to prevent further suicides. The continuing long waiting lists and lack of funding in child mental health services is putting our children at further risk.

Counsellors working in schools, colleges and universities are more often managing the responsibility of high risk clients and finding it difficult to refer clients on to mental health services when they most require it. Many therapists report often feeling “overwhelmed” and “deeply concerned” at the level of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts being currently reported.

Kate Day, a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist of who consults in Parliament on youth suicide and runs quality assured suicide training, comments “We must ask how and why we got to this place...why are our children and young people are so overwhelmed with pain that they see suicide as the only option. Suicide is rarely ever about a wanting or wishing to die but rather a strong and pervasive need to stop and free oneself from the suffering of pain.”

What can you do to help?

  1. Please urge your local MP and Government to take immediate action for the safety of our children and ensure ‘a suicide prevention plan for England’ is fully implemented in all schools, colleges and universities across the UK.
  2. Ensure you have the appropriate suicide awareness training when practising with children and young people. This will ensure both ethical and safer practice.

Kate Day is the director KRD TRAINING which specialises in training professionals in suicide ideation and suicide awareness.
KRD TRAINING COURSES can be found here:

With thanks to our Children and Young People Mental Health ambassador, Kate Day, for this blog post.

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