Papyrus is a charity whose mission is to prevent suicide in young people by increasing awareness that suicide is the biggest killer of the under 35s.

As a follow up to the December meeting (Click here to view report) RFF partnered with Papyrus to offer this basic 90 minute SPOT sessions aimed at promoting suicide awareness, the signs to look for and how to signpost young people to organisations that can offer valuable help.  This was oversubscribed and Papyrus offered those on waiting list to join  another session later on the same day. 

Papyrus is a charity whose mission is to prevent suicide in young people by increasing awareness that suicide is the biggest killer of the under 35s.

SP-OT sessions invited participants to have an open and honest talk about suicide; through open and honest talk, the sessions aimed to increase awareness of the prevalence of young suicide and aim to break stigma and taboo surrounding suicide. Such talk may:

  • Challenge the stigma and taboo surrounding suicide
  • Increased participants awareness of the sensitivity of language when talking about suicide
  • Increased participants understanding of why a person may consider suicide
  • Increase personal commitment to and action in suicide prevention
  • Support the spread of training opportunities and networking activities

session encouraged participants to consider the question ‘should we talk about suicide?’ uncovering attitudes and beliefs around this question in order to shatter the stigma that can surround suicide.

“This is a topic that there is always something to learn about. Today has led me to think more about the impact of different faiths on attitudes to suicide. This will be very helpful in my work.”

“Thank you for hosting yet another worthwhile event today”

This tutorial was aimed for those with responsibility for pastoral care of young people in their faith communities – the more people can be aware of the “warning” signs the more lives can be saved and the stigma challenged.

The figures regarding people committing suicide in general are stark and sadly rising.

  • In the UK, in 2018 there were 6,507 recorded suicides . 
  • Sadly 1,866 of that figure were young people under the age of 35.
  • There are approximately 200 school age children who commit suicide every year.
  • Suicide is at the moment the biggest non-medical killer of young people.
  • It is thought these figures do not even show the true extent, as many more deaths are not recorded as suicide but as ‘death by misadventure’ . 
  • One in four adults have contemplated suicide.
  • And for every 1 death by suicide there has been 22 attempted suicides.

Some of the problems that lead children and young people to suicide can be persistent bullying, which leads to low self confidence and low self-esteem, either at school, in the workplace, or online social media sites; housing issues; family problems; sexual abuse. It is unbelievable but a fact that some websites actively seek young people out to encourage them to commit suicide as the only way out of their situation or problem. These websites romanticize suicide and sadly children and young people are easy prey.

The signs that someone is thinking of taking their own life are not easy to spot but the training that Papyrus offers will help identify some of the common signs to look out for and will help us to reach out to vulnerable young people with the sort of conversations that are meaningful, that give hope to the young person, and show them that someone is interested in helping them, listening to them, and care about them and their situation.

The main aim of Papyrus is to offer support through their helplines, and also through social media sites as that is where the majority of young people spend their social time; Papyrus seek to equip young people with suicide prevention skills in schools, colleges and workplaces and they also offer training facilities for local councils, organisations and healthcare specialists ; their third aim is to lobby and influence government to create social policies that incorporate suicide prevention strategies and will also monitor social media sites more strictly.

Papyrus’ helpline number is called HOPELINE UK.   The number is 0800 068 4141. 

 The phones are all manned by trained professionals in suicide prevention in children and young people. All calls are treated in the utmost confidence and callers can remain anonymous if they wish.

At present the helpline is open from 9am –midnight. They are planning to extend it to a 24 hour service in the future as funds become available.

Papyrus offer a variety of training workshops from their basic 90 minute SPOT sessions aimed at promoting suicide awareness, the signs to look for and how to signpost young people to organisations that can offer valuable help; to their half day  SPEAK courses which focus on the types of conversations you can have with vulnerable young people; and then their two day ASSIST courses which are suicide first aid courses aimed at giving the participants real life skills that can help prevent suicidal thoughts and acts in young people.

If you wish to read a little more about Papyrus and their valuable work their website is www.papyrus-uk.org